Large Scale Land Acquisitions as Commons and Resilience Grabbing in Africa

October 4–12, 2018
University of Bern (Switzerland)

These blogs belong to a series of 6 blogs shown as a contribution of Switzerland to World Commons Week.

The Institute of Social Anthropology conducts comparative qualitative research on LSLA in Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Kenya on the way these investments impact commons and their users, including a focus on gender relations and their transformations. Analyzing institutional change from common to state property and privatization these cases show that LSLA does not just lead to land but also to commons grabbing, as communal/clan land and resource rights are transformed into state and private property. This process undermines resilience and food security for vulnerable women, but is legitimized by companies and elite groups as development and justified by legal claims (institution shopping). At the same time, compensations and corporate social responsibility programs (CSR) of companies/states lead to “new commons” (f.e. funds, development schemes etc.) to which, however, marginal women often do not have access and which do not compensate for the losses. These projects shown in the blogs are led by Prof. Dr. Tobias Haller (ISA) and Prof. Jean-David Gerber (Institut for Geography; University of Bern)