Land Deals in Africa: pioneers and speculators

Oct 2011 | 69

Authors: Paul Collier, Anthony Venables

Much African land currently has low productivity and has attracted investors leasing land as a speculative option on higher future prices or productivity. To be beneficial land deals need to induce productivity enhancing investments. Some of these will be publicly provided (infrastructure, agronomic knowledge), and some can only be provided by ‘pioneer’ investors who discover what works and create demonstration effects. Such pioneers can be rewarded for the positive externalities they create by being granted options on large areas of land.

However, pioneers must be separated from speculators by screening and by

requirements to work a fraction of the land.

JEL Codes: O13, 055, Q1

Keywords: land deals, farmland, Africa, rent, lease

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