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Research Report

Land investments, accountability and the law:: Lessons from West Africa

Lorenzo Cotula
Giedre Jokubauskaite
Mamadou Fall
Mark Kakraba-Ampeh
Pierre-Etienne Kenfack
Moustapha Ngaido
Samuel Nguiffo
Téodyl Nkuintchua
Eric Yeboah
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2016
Pages: 56
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-15)

    In recent years, a new wave of large-scale land deals for agribusiness investments in low and middle-income countries has triggered lively debates about the future of food, agriculture and control over land and natural resources. While many recognise that more and better investment could be a force for good, the weak rights and limited opportunities for influence that rural people have in many countries have raised widespread concerns about land dispossession and ill-thought through investment models.

    Effective mechanisms to promote accountability are widely recognised as essential in securing the land rights of rural people, and in ensuring that private sector...

  2. (pp. 16-36)

    Identifying the “authorities” to be held to account is essential for assessing the opportunities and constraints that affect accountability. While power is widely understood to be diffuse within society, and while authority does not necessarily require delegation of power through formal sources such as a national constitution, “authority” does entail some systemic and widespread adherence to a certain mode of governance.

    Much debate on land investments has focused on holding companies (the “land grabbers”) to account. A focus on authority re-centres the question of accountability around the role of those responsible for the governance of land and investment. It is...

  3. (pp. 37-43)

    Drawing on comparative socio-legal research in Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal, this report has documented diverse accountability strategies at local, national and international levels. The recent wave of land deals for agribusiness investments has highlighted the widespread demand for greater accountability in the governance of land and investment. Where emotive and politically sensitive issues such as land are at stake, citizens expect authorities to listen.

    The report has also shed light on how the law influences opportunities for accountability in the governance of land and investment. The findings point to the great diversity of contexts, situations and issues, challenging or qualifying...