Politics of Land and Agrarian Reforms in Africa: Examining the Challenges and Solutions

Onyango M. Ang’anyo, Letangule S. Leiro


Land reforms fell out of favour with donors from the early 1970s—nonetheless, sporadic efforts to redistribute land continue. These reforms stemmed from shifts in the domestic balance of power between landowners and landless workers and peasants, which were quite independent of donor policies. Whereas the geographical context and individual country strategies may be new, the range of land reforms measures being adopted and the implementation problems encountered are not. The standard argument for tenure reforms centres on the role of uncertainty in discouraging investment on land that is held without long-term security. Land title that enhances such security may induce investment and productivity increases both from the demand side, as farmers become more certain of reaping the benefits of investment in the future; and from the supply side, by affording farmers better access to credit. The paper recommends that solutions to land and agrarian reforms in Africa should seek to achieve, in their broadest sense, reforms that entail a wide spectrum of options such as land claims, acquisition and distribution of land, access to land for certain purposes, land use planning, infrastructure development, farming and commercial support, resettlement programmes, security of tenure and training.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/ape.v3n3p46


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