Theories of Land Reform and Their Impact on Land Reform Success in Southern Africa | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
November 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Our purpose is to present and test a typology of land reform theories as a means of understanding and interrogating the motives behind land reform and to better equip land administrators and policymakers to enact land reform programs that are appropriate for their contexts. Here, land reform is understood to include the related concepts of land redistribution, land restitution, land tenure reform and land administration reform. The theory typology thus has application for land restitution programs specifically operating in the global South. The continuum of theories is derived from literature and tested through a multiple case study of land reform in Nigeria, Mozambique, and South Africa, drawing from a combination of primary and secondary data. The findings suggest an over-reliance on replacement theories in all three contexts, although the Mozambican experience draws on theories towards the middle of the continuum (the adaptation theories). This is recommended as the most viable approach for the context.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Hull, Simon
Babalola, Kehinde
Whittal, Jennifer


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