Africa’s farmland in changing hands: a review of literature and case studies from sub-Saharan Africa

Access to land is at the heart of rural livelihoods. In sub-Saharan Africa, the pace and scale at which land is changing hands are increasing fast. Understanding these changes in land access is crucial if the systems of land governance, the practices of companies and organisations, and the initiatives seeking to influence rural development, are to adapt and have a positive impact. This report summarises findings from a research project – including case studies in Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, and Uganda – to improve understanding of these changes by addressing three main questions: How is land access changing in rural Africa, and what are the major drivers of change? How are these changes affecting rural livelihoods? What are the implications of these changes for development policy and practice? Recommendations focus on the need and means to: reform policy and practice to keep pace with fast moving change; support smallholder farming and off-farm employment; invest in local institutions for smallholder farming to thrive; and monitor changes in land access.