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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

The state of governance in Africa: what indices tell us
Y. Turianskyi / South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
Governance is notoriously difficult to measure – yet numerous global indices attempt to do so. This paper tracks the governance progress of 52 African countries through various indices. A total of 17 of these states have undergon...
The African Union: regional and global challenges
Centre for Conflict Resolution, University of Cape Town (UCT) 2016
The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”. The meet...
The Knowledge Partnership Programme - the global reach and network connect
IPE-Centre for Knowledge Development 2015
The Knowledge Partnership Programme (KPP) has facilitated mutual sharing and exchange of development solutions through knowledge, experience, technology, investment, information to explore and showcase India's success in meeti...
India-Africa: South-South trade and investment for development
World Trade Organization 2016
India and Africa's partnership has entered a new era. Close political relationships are being invigorated by a flourishing trade and investment relationship. This new trade and investment relationship could be crucial in the stru...
Indian Foreign Direct Investment in Africa
A. Paul / CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment and Economic Regulation 2016
The entry of Indian companies into Africa is largely market and resource seeking which offers much more potential in terms of promoting forward and backward linkages and in terms of impacting on competition in the domestic market. The...
India and Africa - collaboration for growth
KPMG 2016
The nature of India’s relationship with Africa is clearly evolving into a wider, deeper engagement that, while clearly in India’s advantage, also offers significant potential benefits to its African counterparts. This overvi...
The institutionalisation of mediation support within the ECOWAS Commission
African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes 2016
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission established the Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) in June 2015 to backstop mediation efforts undertaken by its mediation organs, member states, non-state actors and...
Ethnic diversity, segregation, and ethnocentric trust in Africa
A. L. Robinson / Afrobarometer 2016
Ethnic diversity is generally associated with less social capital and lower levels of trust. However, most empirical evidence for this relationship is focused on generalized trust, rather than more theoretically ap ...
A stitch in time: preventive diplomacy and the Lake Malawi dispute
A. Lalbahadur / South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
A low-intensity dispute between Malawi and Tanzania threatens regional peace as the two countries contest the demarcation of their national boundaries at Lake Malawi. This long-standing dispute became more urgent when in 2011 ...
Online Knowledge Portals for Development in Africa: scoping study
A. Venth / Institute of Development Studies UK 2015
The Global Open Knowledge Hub (GOKH) programme, implemented by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in collaboration with a range of partners, aims to build a global open knowledge platform for open data sharing and exchange on ...
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