Hierarchies of Rights: Land and Investments in Africa

Partner Institution(s): 
University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Resource Assessment, Tanzania
University of Eduardo Mondlane, Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration, Mozambique
Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark
Start Date: 
January 1, 2015
End Date: 
December 31, 2018
Project Type: 
North driven projects
Project Code: 
Total grant: 
DKK 9,969,902
Contact : 
Lars Buur
Mozambique, Tanzania

The main aim of the research program is to analyse how struggles related to large-scale investments into natural resources affect small-holders’ rights to land in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It tests the overall working hypothesis that in developing democratic market economies hierarchies of rights are established over time that structure how struggles related to largescale investments are played out. It analyses struggles over rights through two variables: the type of investment (high/low-value resources) and the distribution of power in society (elite cohesion/ fragmentation). Based on a set of primarily qualitative comparative case study methodologies, the program studies how investments into oil/gas, mining and agriculture in Tanzania and Mozambique affect small-holders’ rights to land. Both countries have experienced a dramatic surge in large-scale investments and, subsequently, political tensions and unrest. Despite similarities between the two countries struggles over land rights produce different outcomes for small-holders. The program will include three southbased PhD students and scholars from different academic traditions. This combination will facilitate transfer of skills and knowledge across the participating country teams. The program will provide research, capacity-building, and policy-advice that contribute to strengthening interventions addressing key challenges related to social inclusion, inclusive growth, and political stability in the region.


First-year report 2015:
The project Hierarchies of Rights: land and investments in Africa has so far selected case studies in Tanzania and Mozambique focusing on large-scale investments in gas/oil (incl. energy and pipelines), minerals (coal/energy)and agriculture (rice and sugar). During the first phase of the programme we focus on the conditions under which large-scale investments in extractives can be made without ‘violating’ the land rights of smallholders.

We have started the training of three PhDs that are part of a joint PhD programme
established between RUC and UDSM in Dar es Saalam. Two of the PhDs are Mozambican and one PhD is Tanzanian. A programme website has been established: http://www.ruc.dk/hierarchies. Some publications are available on the website (or with information about where to get access to the publications). Various working papers, articles and book chapters are in the making and will be published during 2016-18.

This page was last modified on 19 October 2016

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