Land and Financialization: Role of International Financial Actors in Land Deals in Africa

The North-South Institute, 2013
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Marxian Political Economy, Ecological Economics, Other
Topic: Development, finance, financialization, globalization, markets, north-south relations, resources, environment & climate
Format: Lecture
Duration: 00:23:58

In this video, political economist Dr. Jennifer Clapp asks why investors' interest in African land has increased enormously in the last decades and answers this question by focusing on historical transformations in the global economic environment, the side of investors and the land frontier. According to Dr. Clapp, liberalization and deregulation in the 80s has made it tremendously easy for financial institutions to by a piece of African land in current times, as compared to with periods under colonial rule or strong protectionist trade policies. Another specifity in Dr. Clapp's analysis is the focus she puts on the investors' side in order to trace back reasons (liberalization and deregulation) and triggers (the African food crisis, which is still and again ongoing) of accelerated financialization of African land. Additionally, Dr. Clapp sees is the shere magnitude of uncropped land in Africa as a critical component of the emergence of investors' interest in African land, which constitutes a huge land frontier in comparison to the potential in e.g. western countries of the global north.

Comment from our editors:

The 20-minutes talk of Dr. Jennifer Clark clearly traces dynamics of land and financialization in the global context and with particular focus on (Sub-Sharan) Africa. The way she decides to analyse the investors' perspective and emergence of interest as well as accelerated accumulation of financial products grounded on African land is especially relevant to me as, in my view, many other analyses focus on receiving countries. This is a quick, lucid, political economic perspective on land and financialization which summarizes key reasons and connects them with triggers as well as self-reinforcing dynamics.

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