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Land-related conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract:

Sub-Saharan Africa has a history of land dispossession and contestation which have resulted in various types of inequalities and a skewed distribution of land resources. Land in Sub-Saharan Africa has been subject to conflict, conquest, expropriation and exploitation thus resulting in the many discrepancies that exist today. This has greatly influenced the socio-economic and political positions of different groups of people. This situation has resulted in numerous land conflicts, and in most Sub-Saharan countries the land question and past inequalities remain unresolved. This article shows that there are various types of land conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, land conflicts are generally influenced by a range of complex and interrelated factors. Specifically, aspects relating to poverty and inequality as well as land reformation processes are relevant given that contestations over land resources are most noticeable among the poor. Additionally, land conflicts are intensifying and becoming more widespread. The article also discusses key aspects that need to be considered when managing land conflicts. It is important to note that this article draws heavily on a South African perspective and is not an exhaustive review of the range of land-related conflicts on a diverse continent where significant variations exist. The focus is on highlighting key aspects and identifying commonalities.

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