Tenure and Investment in Southern Africa: Sugar, Mining, Monitoring and Expectations

Author: Rights and Resources Initiative & TMP Systems

Date: February 9, 2017

Tenure disputes in Southern Africa have created financial and reputational damage for the companies and investors involved. Sectors like sugar and mining have struggled to engage local peoples effectively and to manage local expectations associated with their projects. Disputes in Southern Africa are particularly likely to lead to materially significant events, like work stoppages. They are also more likely to be violent than in any other region in the world, which is a considerable deterrent for foreign direct investment (FDI).

This paper examines recent case studies of tenure-related dispute in Southern Africa to help companies, investors, governments, and CSOs to avoid and resolve them more effectively.

  • Key Findings
  • Related Materials

Key Findings

Key recommendations derived from an examination of the way disputes develop in Southern Africa as well as the specific operating environments of affected projects:

  1. Perceived collusion between companies and local elites inflames dispute.
  2. Managing local expectations—positive and negative—is key.
  3. In agriculture, direct acquisitions or large leases are attractive to investors but increase tenure risks. Data will be key to unlocking a prosperous future.

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