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Accountability in Africa's land rush: what role for legal empowerment

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in acquiring farmland for agricultural investments in lower-income countries. Whilst such investments can create jobs, improve access to markets and support infrastructure, many large land deals have been associated with negative impacts for local populations, including the dispossession of land and other resources and increased conflict over economic benefits. There is growing evidence on the scale, geography and impacts of large deals. But less is known about how the legal frameworks regulating this land rush shape opportunities and constraints in formal pathways to accountability; and how people who feel wronged by land deals are responding to seek justice, and to what ends.

This report assesses the state of evidence on pathways to accountability in the global land rush, with a focus on Africa. It also identifies areas for a new research agenda that places accountability at its centre.

This report has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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