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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

Climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa: from physical changes to their social repercussions
ResearchGate 2016
The repercussions of climate change will be felt in various ways throughout both natural and human systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change projections for this region point to a warming trend, particularly in the inland subtropi...
West Africa Regional Diagnostic Study: report summary
Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2016
Home to hundreds of millions of people, the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks. Working in 11 countries in these regions, ASSAR is a research project that seeks to und...
Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the semi-arid regions of West Africa
J. Padgham / Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2015
The West Africa region spans humid, sub-humid, semi-arid and arid climate regimes. It is currently home to over 340 million people, and constitutes 39% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population. The regional population is expected to ex...
Fertilizers and low emission development in sub-Saharan Africa
Climate Change Agriculture Food Security 2016
Many countries in Africa included fertilizer use, soil fertility management, and agricultural inputs as part of their contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement. While nitrogen (N) fertilizers contribute substantially to nitrous oxi...
East Africa Regional Diagnostic Study
Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2015
Home to hundreds of millions of people, the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks. Working in 11 countries in these regions, ASSAR is a research project that seeks to und...
Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Semi-Arid Regions of East Africa
Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2015
The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) Consortium seeks to deepen understanding of climate vulnerability and adaptation in semi-arid regions, and help transform current adaptation practice to a mode that achieves proacti...
Planning for climate change in the semi-arid regions of Southern Africa
Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2015
Semi-arid areas in Southern Africa are characterised by high rainfall variability, frequent droughts, low soil moisture and extreme events such as flash floods. These conditions provide the foundation of vulnerability of communities i...
Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the semi-arid regions of Southern Africa
Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions 2015
The semi-arid areas of southern Africa are culturally and ecologically diverse characterised by a high proportion of poor people with limited access to services, high unemployment levels, high levels of inequality, and high levels of ...
Social Protection for Sustainable Development: dialogues between Africa and Brazil
World Centre for Sustainable Development / RIO+ Centre 2016
Over the last few decades, Latin American countries have experienced a boom in social protection policies. This increase has been fuelled by the expansion of fiscal space as the result of steady economic growth. While many of these co...
Do Africans still want democracy?
R. Mattes; M. Bratton / Afrobarometer 2016
More than half of all Africans today live in functioning multi-party electoral democracies that are demonstrably freer than the military or one-party regimes that previously dominated the continent. At the same time, the post-1990 gai...
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