According to estimates by the International Land Coalition based at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 57 million hectares of land have been leased to foreign investors since 2007. Current research has focused on human rights issues related to inward investment in land but has been ignorant of water resource issues and the challenges of managing scarce water. This handbook will be the first to address inward investment in land and its impact on water resources in Africa.

The geographical scope of this book will be the African continent, where land has attracted the attention of risk-taking investors because much land is under-utilised marginalized land, with associated water resources and rapidly growing domestic food markets. The successful implementation of investment strategies in African agriculture could determine the future of more than one billion people. An important factor to note is that Sub-Saharan Africa will, of all the continents, be hit hardest by climate change, population growth and food insecurity. Sensible investment in agriculture is therefore needed, however, at what costs and at whose expense?

The book will also address the livelihoods theme and provide a holistic analysis of land and water grabbing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Four other themes will addressed: politics, economics, environment and the history of land investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The editors have involved a highly diverse group of around 25 expert researchers, who will review the pro and anti-investment arguments, geopolitics, the role of capitalist investors, the environmental contexts and the political implications of, and reasons for, leasing millions of hectares in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, there has been no attempt to review land investments through a suite of different lenses, thus this handbook will differ significantly from existing research and publication.

The editors are Tony Allan, (Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography, School of Oriental and African Studies and King’s College London); Jeroen Warner (Assistant Professor, Disaster Studies, University of Wageningen); Suvi Sojamo (PhD Researcher, Water and Development Research Group, Aalto University); and Martin Keulertz (PhD Researcher, Department of Geography, London Water Group, King’s College London).

chapter 1.1|7 pages


Can improving returns to food–water in Africa meet African food needs and the needs of other consumers?

part I|79 pages

The history of land grabs and the contradictions of development

chapter 1.1|13 pages

Enclosure revisited

Putting the global land rush in historical perspective

chapter 1.2|19 pages

Land alienation under colonial and white settler governments in southern Africa

Historical land ‘grabbing’

chapter 1.3|14 pages

Sudan and its agricultural revival

A regional breadbasket at last or another mirage in the desert?

chapter 1.4|14 pages

The contradictions of development

Primitive accumulation and geopolitics in the two Sudans 1

part II|131 pages

Investors’ profiles and current investment trends

chapter 2.1|13 pages

Chinese engagement in African agriculture

Fiction and fact

chapter 2.3|26 pages

A global enclosure

The geo-logics of Indian agro-investments in Africa 1

chapter 2.4|12 pages

Private investment in agriculture 1

chapter 2.5|14 pages

Domestic land acquisitions in West Africa

The rush for farmland by urban ‘businessmen’

chapter 2.8

Tapping into Al-Andaluz resources

Opportunities and challenges for investment in Morocco

chapter 2.9|13 pages

A blue revolution for Zambia?

Large-scale irrigation projects and land and water ‘grabs’

part III|113 pages

The political economy of land and water grabs

chapter 3.1|20 pages

Claiming (back) the land

The geopolitics of Egyptian and South African land and water grabs

chapter 3.6|12 pages

Keep calm and carry on

What we can learn from the three food price crises of the 1940s,1970s and 2007/2008

chapter 3.7|13 pages

Constructing a new water future?

An analysis of Ethiopia’s current hydropower development

chapter 3.8|10 pages

Inverse globalisation?

The global agricultural trade system andAsian investments in African land and water resources

part IV|83 pages


chapter 4.2|17 pages

Green and blue water in Africa

How foreign direct investment can support sustainable intensification

chapter 4.3|8 pages

Groundwater in Africa

Is there sufficient water to support the intensification of agriculture from ‘land grabs’?

chapter 4.4|22 pages

The water resource implications for and of FDI projects in Africa

A biophysical analysis of opportunity and risk

chapter 4.5|12 pages

Analyse to optimise

Sustainable intensification of agricultural production through investment in integrated land and water management in Africa

part V|50 pages