What is it about?

Foreign investors are targeting land in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper tackles the following questions: Why have sub‐Saharan African (SSA) countries become attractive destinations for land investment? How would transnational land deals affect the sustainability and development of SSA countries?

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Why is it important?

We discuss the threats and opportunities of land investment deals to the sustainability and development of Sub-Saharan Africa. This is important for structuring land acquisition deals to ensure better outcomes for millions of small-scale farmers across the region. This paper examines country characteristics associated with land acquisitions. The results reveal that the availability of land and water, corruption, days required to start a business, government effectiveness, cost of business startup and political stability are critical determinants of land acquisition investments in Sub‐Saharan Africa. Three significant findings for better outcomes of land deals are: scrutinizing investors' business models, technical experience, and knowledge of local culture; undertaking rigorous environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA) to weigh the long‐term cost benefits of LASLA projects; and conducting transparent contract negotiations.


I hope this article makes people think about the potential benefits of land acquisition investments such as technology transfer, employment creation, infrastructure improvement, and global market integration and the negative impacts on host countries in Sub-Saharan Africa such as environmental degradation, food insecurity, displacement, and loss of livelihoods

Ernest Nkansah-Dwamena
Lafayette College

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This page is a summary of: Why is sub‐Saharan Africa an attractive destination to foreign land grabbers? Evidence from country characteristics, African Development Review, April 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8268.12632.
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