The Emergence of Land Markets in Africa:
Impacts on Poverty, Equity, and Efficiency
Stein T. Holden, Keijiro Otsuka, and Frank M. Place, editors
The high incidence of poverty and the need for increased agricultural productivity remain acute in rural areas across sub-Saharan Africa. This new book from RFF Press marks the first systematic attempt to evaluate emerging land markets in Africa and their implications for poverty, equity, and efficiency, issues that are high on the international policy agenda. Case studies document how land markets generally benefit the poor but their functions remain imperfect, due to policy-induced tenure insecurity and the fragmentation of agricultural land.
Applying rigorous quantitative analyses, the book provides a basis for taking into account the role of land markets in national land policies. All too often, land policies have been extreme, either prohibiting all land transactions or giving unrestricted freehold rights to a small elite at the expense of the poor. From the long experience in Asia, it is known that such policies are detrimental to both production efficiency and equity of land use. The authors argue that future policies in Africa should work with the markets. Regulations should be imposed only with careful testing that they are having the intended effects.
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