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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

Africa and external actors
Centre for Conflict Resolution, University of Cape Town (UCT) 2016
The Cape Town seminar in August 2016 brought together about 30 key scholars, policymakers, and civil society activists to assess bilateral and multilateral relations between Africa’s traditional and non-traditional actors...
South Africa's trade and investment relationship with the United States post-AGOA
Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, South Africa 2016
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been recognised as the  cornerstone of America’s engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 14 years. It is therefore central to an  understanding of the South Afri...
India-Africa seed sector collaboration: emerging prospects and challenges
T.P. Rajendran; A. Kumar / Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
India-Africa seed sector has promises for improving trade with various African nations. This discussion paper analyses the external orientation of the Indian seed industry, institutional architecture for enabling trade of vege...
Illicit financial flows estimating trade mispricing and trade-based money laundering for five African countries
K. Nicolaou-Manias; Y. Wu / Global Economic Governance Africa 2016
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are garnered through the proceeds of illicit trade, trade mispricing, transfer pricing and other forms of organised profit-motivated crime. This paper focuses on the commercial tax evasion component of i...
Improving infrastructure finance for Low-Income Countries: recommendations for the ADF
C. Markowitz / Global Economic Governance Africa 2016
Low-income countries (LICs) in sub-Saharan Africa face a substantial infrastructure-financing gap. multi-lateral development banks (MLDBs) have traditionally played an important role in mobilising finance for infrastructure in LIcs, b...
Climate models: what they show us and how they can be used in planning
Climate and Development Knowledge Network 2016
The climate conditions that we experience are the result of complex interactions between processes occurring in the atmosphere and in the oceans. These processes operate at global and local scales and are influenced by other f...
Interactive radio’s promising role in climate information services: Farm Radio International concept paper
Climate Change Agriculture Food Security 2015
Farmers require relevant, timely and continuous information and advice regarding historic climate variability, probabilistic seasonal forecasts, and monitoring and short-lead information about growing season weather. ...
Climate-smart livestock interventions in West Africa: a review
T.A. Amole; A. Ayantunde / Climate Change Agriculture Food Security 2016
The livestock sector is one of the major contributors in agriculture, by some estimates contributing up to 18% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of this, about one third is reported to be due to land use change associated ...
Integrating gender into climate change adaptation programs: a research and capacity needs assessment for Sub-Saharan Africa
Climate Change Agriculture Food Security 2016
Research shows that paying attention to gender matters not only for the equity of climate change adaptation programs but also for their efficiency and effectiveness. Many organizations working to increase resilience to climate change ...
The future of food security, environments and livelihoods in Western Africa: four socio-economic scenarios
Climate Change Agriculture Food Security 2016
Researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and development practitioners working to improve food security, environmental health and rural livelihoods in the developing world face many uncertainties when exploring the future of food sys...
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