Hierarchies of Rights: Land and Investments in Africa


Start date: 1 January, 2015 End date: 31 December, 2020 Project type: Research collaboration projects in Danida priority countries (Window 1) Project code: 14-05RUC Countries: Mozambique Tanzania Thematic areas: Natural resource management, State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Partner institutions: Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU), Mozambique University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Lars Buur Total grant: 9,969,902 DKK

Project summary

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.


Midterm report 2017

- We have exceeded the 8 working papers we had promised, but the two comparative synthesis papers are pending. The comparative case paper is also outstanding.
- Numerous academic articles single or co-authored have been written that exceed what we had promised to publish. One special journal issue and one comparative academic edited book are still pending.
- Participation and organisation of panels: ASA-UK, ASA-US, ISA, APSA, IESE V Conference 2017 (Mozambique).
- Training of PhD students in progress as most PhD courses have been covered. The three south-based PhDs are currently writing their theses and all are expected to have handed in by March 2019.
- A program website and several twitter accounts on land and investments in Africa.

Still outstanding a number of policy briefs and final policy conference.

Extra midterm report

One special journal issue that will pursued as individual articles and working papers with ESID in Manchester is in an advanced progress. The comparative academic edited book is scheduled for a first draft by August 2019. Still outstanding a number of policy briefs and final policy conference with one scheduled for Maputo July 30-31, 2019. A final conference is scheduled for early December 2019 as part of the Center for African Economies, at RUC yearly conference.

Go back to all projects