Africa’s changing landscape

Access to arable productive land in African has been in decline due to the pressure of growing population trends and worsening land degradation as a result of climate change. Recent high profile land purchases covering thousand of hectares of prime agricultural land have raised concerns over equitable land access. Major expansions in regional land markets have increased investor interest in land acquisitions.

Perceptions of land availability and competitive land prices have driven demand for prime agriculture land. Subsequent increases in foreign direct investment have been partially explained by substantial land acquisitions undertaken for the purpose of food production and biofuels. Government responses to land investments have been largely favourable with many countries promoting investor friendly market environments.

This briefing discusses some of the major policy themes in African land markets with a view to inform and engage with policy makers and development stakeholders on a rapidly changing land sector. It offers an overview of current trends and provides a set of recommendations on possible solutions to the challenges faced in relation to land reform within the region.