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Land Deals in Africa: Pioneers and Speculators


  • Collier Paul

    (University of Oxford)

  • Venables Anthony J.

    (University of Oxford)


Much African land currently has low productivity and has attracted investors leasing land as a speculative option on higher future prices or productivity. To be beneficial land deals need to induce productivity enhancing investments. Some of these will be publicly provided (infrastructure, agronomic knowledge), and some can only be provided by ‘pioneer’ investors who discover what works and create demonstration effects. Such pioneers can be rewarded for the positive externalities they create by being granted options on large areas of land. However, pioneers must be separated from speculators by screening and by requirements to work a fraction of the land.

Suggested Citation

  • Collier Paul & Venables Anthony J., 2012. "Land Deals in Africa: Pioneers and Speculators," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-22, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:globdv:v:3:y:2012:i:1:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grenadier, Steven R., 1995. "Valuing lease contracts A real-options approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 297-331, July.
    2. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    3. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
    4. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-937, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deininger, Klaus & Xia, Fang, 2016. "Quantifying Spillover Effects from Large Land-based Investment: The Case of Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 227-241.
    2. Di Corato, Luca & Hess, Sebastian, 2013. "Farmland Investments in Africa: What’s the Deal?," Working Paper Series 2013:10, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department Economics.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:430-446 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Khadjavi, Menusch & Sipangule, Kacana & Thiele, Rainer, 2016. "Social capital and large-scale agricultural investments: An experimental investigation in Zambia," Kiel Working Papers 2056, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Larson,Donald F. & Muraoka,Rie & Otsuka,Keijiro, 2016. "On the central role of small farms in African rural development strategies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7710, The World Bank.
    6. Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Deininger, Klaus & Harris, Anthony, 2017. "Using National Statistics to Increase Transparency of Large Land Acquisition: Evidence from Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 62-74.
    7. Collier, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages 75-84.
    8. Deininger,Klaus W. & Xia,Fang & Mate,Aurelio & Payongayong,Ellen, 2015. "Quantifying spillover effects from large farm establishments : the case of Mozambique," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7466, The World Bank.
    9. Jana Brandt, 2017. "Large Scale Land Investments: Impact on Child Health," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201713, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Ali,Daniel Ayalew & Deininger,Klaus W. & Harris,Charles Anthony Philip, 2016. "Large farm establishment, smallholder productivity, labor market participation, and resilience : evidence from Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7576, The World Bank.
    11. Collier, Paul & Dercon, Stefan, 2014. "African Agriculture in 50Years: Smallholders in a Rapidly Changing World?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 92-101.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture


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