, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 355-366
Date: 23 Nov 2012

China–Africa development cooperation in the rural sector: an exploration of land tenure and investments linkages for sustainable resource use

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China-Africa development cooperation in the rural sector has received an increased attention by researchers and policy-makers given the advantages and disadvantages of China’s contribution to the local economy. However, there is a lack of more reliable and nuanced findings to provide greater insights into the major issues concerning rural development and resource use. This paper aims to position land tenure and foreign investments linkages as a new research angle for understanding the role of land in sustainable resource use and investments. The paper provides a brief overview of China-Africa cooperation in rural development especially concerning agriculture to illustrate the neglect of critical land and resource use issues in policy and practice. The paper briefly discusses the ongoing land tenure reforms in Africa and the policy gaps to be filled through further research. It also discusses how China’s own development model, especially concerning land tenure reform, shares similar trajectories with Africa, which has important implications for the effectiveness of Chinese investments in African land. The paper concludes that there is an urgent need for lesson learning among Chinese and African policy-makers and investors towards tailoring development cooperation to more appropriate land tenure systems for sustainable resource use to the mutual benefit of Chinese and African stakeholders.