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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


ASHUKEM, Jean-Claude N  and  NGANG, Carol C. Land grabbing and the implications for the right to development in Africa. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2022, vol.22, n.2, pp.403-425. ISSN 1996-2096.

The indispensability ofland for agriculture and the extraction of the natural resources thereon to sustain industrialisation and economic growth processes across the world have orchestrated a significant change in patterns of land ownership and use in Africa where evictions and displacement of local communities from their ancestral lands have become legion as a result of persistent land grabbing. This situation has had a concomitant negative implication for the potential of local communities in Africa to develop socio-economically and culturally, with a corresponding negative impact on their right to development. It is not clear whether the right to development enshrined in the African Charter could be relied upon to achieve Africa's development prospects, particularly with the prevalence of land grabbing across the continent. Taking land as a major contributing factor to socio-economic and cultural development, we argue that land grabbing not only contravenes but also bars prospects of making the right to development a reality for the peoples of Africa. Based on the doctrinal research methodology, we critically review the normative contents of the right to development in conjunction with other relevant provisions under the African Charter. We question whether the right to development affords prospects for socio-economic and cultural advancement in the face of land grabbing in Africa. Concerning the adverse impact of land grabbing, the article concludes that it is crucial for African states to re-think their right to development obligations and the land ownership and land use policy prerogatives relevant to protecting the livelihood sustainability interests of their peoples.

Keywords : land grabbing; right to development; livelihood sustainability; local communities; human rights; natural resources; African Charter.

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