University Lecturer Wayessa Gutu

122200 €

Large-scale land deals and local livelihoods in Ethiopia: A political ecology of a contested scheme

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kolmivuotinen

Large-scale land deals between African states and foreign investors are among the most challenging development issues of today, leading to a substantial reconfiguration of access to land and land-based social relations. Ethiopia ranks among the top in terms of the size of land leased out during the last decade. While some see such investments as vital for economic transformation, others view it as a “land grabbing” and impoverishing scheme. These competing framings should be substantiated by empirical evidence showing the implications of such transactions for local livelihoods. The study critically examines the premises forwarded and the promises pledged by the government and investment companies on the one hand, and the realities lived by the local people on the other. It employs political ecology as a theoretical framework, constituted of power relations in decision-making processes and distributive justices in relation to outcomes, i.e. the distribution of costs and benefits. It employs a mixed-methods approach, involving a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The primary data, to be collected using household survey, interviews, and focus-group discussions, will be complemented with systematic content analysis of secondary data. The study aims to provide new insights into the relationships between land rights, local livelihoods, and global investments relevant for future development research and policy.