Exploring the role of domestic investors in the agricultural and extractive sectors in Africa focusing on the way different types of domestic investors navigate, relate and do business and the effect of their investments on the national economic and political development and on local populations.
The academic as well as public debate on large-scale investments in land, agriculture and extractives in Africa has focused primarily on foreign investors, while the role of domestic investors remains underexplored. Nonetheless, domestic investors despite their relative invisibility are manifold and increasing, according to newer FAO data. The role of domestic investors is different from foreign actors, since they are normally more embedded (connected) in national and local political, economic and social networks and institutions. This does not necessarily mean that their investments are less contested (disruptions) or more productive, but that other factors are important in analysing their role and the potential impact of their investments. Domestic investors are not a homogenous group. There are large and small businesses; individuals and business conglomerates; state-owned enterprises and public-private partnerships; those with primarily national focus or those integrated in international and/or regional networks; investors of different social identities (gender, ethnicity); those who are part of or close to the ruling elite and those that try to keep a distance to political involvement. The panel invites papers that explore the connections and disruptions of domestic investors in the agricultural and extractive sectors in Africa with a particular focus on the way different types of domestic investors navigate, relate and do business and thereby the effect of their investments on the national economic and political development and on local populations in the investment location(s).