Development Impact of Land-Based Investment in Times of Crisis: Learning and exchange by the LANDac Professional Learning Network | Land Portal

The session addressed the impacts of land-based investments on poor and vulnerable people in the Global South. It facilitated an exchange of knowledge about the strategies that are employed on the ground to strengthen the position of these groups when it comes to negotiating for their interests with investors amidst the climate crisis and the global pandemic. How might we, as practitioners, researchers and policymakers contribute to increased developmental impact of land-based investments, especially in times of crisis? This was the question taken up by a professional learning community in the field of inclusive land governance: the LANDac Professional Learning Network. During the session, participants shared their experiences and work on the ground.


Key Takeaways

  • Before land distribution, the government should train the community and create awareness on managing and handling.
  • Community meetings, stakeholder mapping, social impact assessments, grievance resolution mechanisms are key social risk mitigation strategies.
  • The gender aspect to compensation where women miss out on monetary compensation, need to fight this patriarchal notion. And only benefit from the indirect benefits such as housing, school, clinic, etc projects set up by investor.
  • Communities who have lost land to LSBI have not received adequate compensation for loss of livelihoods. Results in increased conflict and rural to urban migration.
  • No mechanism in place to reduce to monetary terms all the benefits that communities derive from the land for purposes of compensation (Secondary land rights enjoyed by women, intergenerational rights and religious use of land)
  • Community participation in reality is informing community about the investments. “Local community leaders are consulted; they fail to engage the rest of the community members. These leaders are predominantly men, so women’s voice not represented.” Arach David James- Namati Kenya        
  • Communities living in areas where investments are taking place have been marginalized with insignificant or no returns for the loss of their land and/or water rights.
  • This lack of transparency poses serious governance challenges in LSLBI.
  •  Land deals exacerbate the existing gender disparities in land access and ownership as opportunities arising from LSLBI tend to fall to men
  • Recognize and respect all legitimate tenure rights holders and their rights.
  • Decisions on LSLBI and their implementation are based on good governance, including transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation and social acceptance by affected communities.
  • LSLBI respect the land rights of women, recognize their voice, generate meaningful opportunities for women alongside men, and do not exacerbate the marginalization of women.


Investigate the trend of large-scale land-based investments in Africa

Wegayehu Fitawek, PhD Candidate at University of Pretoria and LANDac Fellow


Communities are positive about investments – unlike the general narrative of land grabbing, they want investors from whom they share benefits (inclusive investments).”

Land use change


  • Land-use change is happening from diversified to a monocrop plantation in Kenya and South Africa.
  • The community became disadvantaged and lost many privileges received from the previous farms in the three countries.
  •  Lack of transparency and consultation during ownership exchange.
  • Lack of a sense of ownership and rewards for the community incase of labour tenants in South Africa.
  • Displacement and conflicts in Zambia.



Arach David James, Senior Program Officer- Namati Kenya and LANDac Fellow


Community development agreement where in most cases not adhered to by the investors, they would do so for the first and second year then stop. Communities supported to develop MoU/Development agreements with investors, women should participate and influence the MoUs.


  • Decision regarding acquisition happen between investor and government, community is only informed.
  • In cases where local community leaders are consulted, they fail to engage the rest of the community members. These leaders are predominantly men, so women’s voice not represented.
  • Conflicts limit community members productivity
  • Access to land limited, community member’s land reduced, or moved to smaller parcels.
  • Women miss out on monetary compensation, need to fight this patriarchal notion.
  • Only a small number of local community members directly employed, most of these being men. Moreover, they take casual laborer jobs.
  • Need for actors to advocate for and push for local content and deliberate empowerment of women to benefit from investment project.


Quantifying tenure risk (QTR); The costs of mitigating tenure risks in emerging markets

Joseph Feyertag, Research Fellow at Climate and Sustainability (ODI)


Governments could ask investors to disclose financial information relating to social risk mitigation strategies, mandating a minimum 2% spend of project expenditure on activities such as social dialogue processes.”


Tenure risk is endemic in emerging markets and causes significant financial damage

Tenure Risk is Endemic


  • There is a strong business case for investment in tenure risk management processes
  • Governments can mitigate these risks by introducing disclosure requirements for investors: at least 2% on appropriate processes