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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

Values, culture and the ivory trade ban
Y.-S. Wu; S. Rupp; C. Alden / South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
The new reality of a world without ivory trade demands a re-examination of human values towards both elephants and ivory and what each has come to represent. The closure of the world’s largest ivory markets (US and China), in lin...
Understanding gender in community-based adaptation: practitioner brief
CARE International 2015
Accessing weather forecasts, having control over land, being able to influence decision-making processes, being backed by a community group, or being literate and educated are examples of the human and material resources throu...
Re-thinking the application of sustainable use policies for African elephants in a changed world
South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
Despite increasing calls to recognise the intrinsic value of biodiversity, the need to incentivise people to choose conservation as a competitive form of land use through a sustainable use (SU) approach remains the de facto and de jur...
Election quality, public trust are central issues for Africa’s upcoming contests
Afrobarometer 2016
Nothing kindles democracy’s energies, anxieties, hopes, and frustrations like an election. The quality of an election can spell the difference between a cooking fire and an explosion. If a successful election can calm and focus a...
Namibia: towards a logistics hub for Southern Africa
M. Schoeman / South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is touted for its many benefits to developing countries. The skills and technology foreign investors bring with them can help to stem the huge skills and knowledge shortage that developing count...
Policy briefing: SMEs and GVCs in the G20: implications for Africa and developing countries
P. Draper; C. Pswarayi / Global Economic Governance Africa 2016
Increasing the participation of developing countries in global value chains (GVCs) is now an accepted G20 priority. However, there is disagreement over how multinational corporations (MNCs), which drive GVCs, can be persuaded to incor...
SMEs and GVCs in the G20 implications for Africa and developing countries
P. Draper; C. Pswarayi / Global Economic Governance Africa 2016
Increasing the participation of developing countries in global value chains (GVCs) is now an accepted G20 priority that features prominently on the Chinese government’s agenda for the 2016 summit. However, there is disagreement o...
Review of the projected impacts of climate change on coastal fishes in southern Africa
W.M. Potts; A. Götz; N.C. James / ResearchGate 2015
The coastal zone represents one of the most economically and ecologically important ecosys- tems on the planet, none more so than in southern Africa. This manuscript examines the potential impacts of climate change on the coastal fish...
Climate change adaptation and resilience in Africa: recommendations to policymakers
The Network of African Science Academies 2015
The principal objective of this advisory booklet is to assess the status and make recommendations that African governments should consider when dealing with climate change and resilience in Africa. Through the cooperation between NASA...
Malaria impact of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa: maps, estimates and predictions
Malaria Journal, BioMed Central 2015
While there is growing recognition of the malaria impacts of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa, the cumulative malaria impact of reservoirs associated with current and future dam developments has not been quantified. The objective of t...
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