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Africa South of Sahara

Spotlight series: Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)

The dynamics of poverty and agro-food systems are a focus for research and policy engagement institute PLAAS, one of the content partners working with Eldis to showcase Southern produced research.

Land is hot property, especially in Africa where there has been a rapid growth in land-based investments and a rising concern about land grabs. It is estimated that 70 per cent of the land which has been part of large-scale transnational land deals in recent years have been in Africa, as international buyers seek to take advantage of cheap land in the face of rising demands to meet food and energy needs. But this scramble does not always benefit the people living on or off the land.

These are some of the issues being grappled with by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), which focuses on the dynamics of chronic poverty and structural inequality in Southern Africa. Through its research, policy engagement, teaching and training, the emphasis is on the restructuring and contesting land holding and agro-food systems and the analysis of marginalised livelihoods in Southern Africa.

Latest Documents

Is Africa rejecting genetic engineering in food and agriculture?
S. Moola; V. Munnik / African Centre for Biosafety 2007
This booklet outlines recent key trends, developments and actors in the debate on genetic engineering (GE) in food and agriculture in Africa. It also highlights a number of the key talking points including the harmonisation of bio-saf...
Life skills for young people leaving school
Ditshwanelo - the Botswana Centre for Human Rights 2007
Young people leaving school face many challenges in new areas of life which they may not have had to deal with while still under the care of their families. This comprehensive guide from Botswana gives advice and support to young peop...
The challenges of the Uganda health Sector Wide Approach
C. Ortendahl / HLSP Institute, UK 2007
The early years of the Uganda health Sector Wide Approaches (SWAp) are generally considered a success story. However, its performance has subsequently declined. This HLSP paper examines the factors that have contributed to this declin...
Lessons learnt and new responses to food insecurity in Southern Africa
N. Maunder; S. Wiggins / Overseas Development Institute 2007
This paper reviews progress in addressing widespread chronic food insecurity since the crisis of 2001–03. It assesses changes regarding the understanding of the ‘problem’, to how it has been incorporated into policy,...
Charting the evolution of global population policies
United Nations Population Division 2008
This report provides a global perspective on the evolution of aspects of population policies between 1976 and 2007 with respect to major population variables.  It looks at the views and policies of governments on the changing age...
Political parties in Southern Africa need to build linkages with people and civil society
D. Kadima; K. Matlosa / Electoral Institute of Southern Africa 2006
This study is a survey of political parties’ outreach programmes in Southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia. Using four instruments of public outreach – policy development, party manifesto, vote...
Evaluating the seven African success stories
R.I. Rotberg / John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 2007
This paper evaluates the seven presumed African success stories: Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda. It gives a detailed analysis of the economic, political, governance and human development scenari...
Commodity booms can be an opportunity for Africa if accompanied by strong public policy
African Economic Research Consortium 2007
Since 2004, many sub-Saharan African countries have been experiencing a boom in the prices of their primary commodity exports. This paper summarises findings about how to manage commodity booms in oil, solid minerals and agriculture t...
How can development respond to land cover change in sub-Saharan Africa?
H. Eva; A. Brink; D. Simonetti / European Commission Directorate-General Joint Research Centre Institute for Environment and Sustainability 2006
Over the last 25 years civil disturbances, drought, population increases and global market pressures have all contributed in direct and indirect ways to a modification of Sub saharan African land cover.  This stu...
Poor left to fend for themselves in the new climate change reality
ActionAid International 2006
The UN Millenium summit committed to achieving ‘a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers’ by 2020. However, in Africa – the world’s fastest urbanising region – climate ...
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