Evidence suggests that large-scale land acquisitions are on the rise in Africa. In late 2012, a number of civil society organisations started a discussion around a recent trend on the African Continent. This was the acquisition of large tracts of arable land by foreign entities. By the end of 2013, there was a reported 60 million hectares of arable land leased or sold to foreign companies or individuals by African governments. Shady land deals continue to persist, usually lacking transparency due to corrupt government officials. Such deals however lack long term planning and have detrimental effects, starting with forced displacement. The First Africa Conference on Land Grabs – a brainchild of Africans – was held in Midrand, South Africa in November 2014. It brought together Africans from all sectors and all walks of life and was wholly supported by Africans as each contributed personal time and personal resources to ensure the success of the conference. The Africa Coalition Against Land Grabs was formed on the 29th of October 2014 as a first step towards addressing the issue of land grabs within the continent. It has given hope in the face of an uncertain future of an anxious continent. A continent whose well being, whose future and whose land is decided upon in faraway lands and by faraway stakeholders.
Consequences of land grabs include among others loss of livelihood, food insecurity and displacement. Women are particularly vulnerable as they face challenges in land ownership, regardless of the fact that they are major producers of food consumed in their countries. This inequality in land ownership persists and impedes their ability to participate in decision-making and exercise their rights. In light of these happenings,
The coalition board is made up of land activists, organizations across the African continent that are concerned with land grabs. The main areas of interventions of the Africa Coalition Against Land Grabs include:
1. Equality, food security and agriculture
2. Displacement of communities from customary farms.
4. Social instability
5. Unequal power relations between African governments and foreign investors
The board structure consists of 10 members who constitute the Steering Committee made up mostly of land activists, academics, law experts and policy makers from across the continent. They provide technical oversight and support to the organisation. The membership is made up of over 60 members, mainly NGOs, universities, etc, across the African continent. However, it is the Steering Committee with a one year mandate renewable that plays an active role in the organisation’s oversight and accountability.