Land, population and agricultural investment in Africa

Briefing papers
October 2016
Anna Locke and Julian Quan

This briefing provides updates on the state of arable land in Africa, its changing agricultural investment landscape, and the linkages between land security and employment in the region.

The new data on Africa’s land holdings and population dynamics challenge many existing assumptions on land availability, production models, and opportunities in the rural, non-farm economy for job creation and growth.

Agricultural and wider land investment policy and practice need to change to work with these dynamics and prevent both state and private investments from failing, harm from being done, and the continent and world from being food insecure.

As opportunities for alternatives to farming will not absorb all of Africa’s youth bulge in the near future, ensuring access to rural land will remain important to absorb youth into gainful employment for some time to come, a crucial focus for African governments and related donors.