Losing your Land

Losing your Land

Dispossession in the Great Lakes

Edited by An Ansoms, Thea Hilhorst


James Currey



Examines a new aspect of one of the highest profile issues facing Africa today-land-grabbing-and shows the widespread impact of small-scale dispossession.

Dispossession of land on a small scale can have as great an impact on living conditions as large-scale land-grabs. With the increasing commodification of land, new forms of dispossession, in urban as well as rural districts, are also gaining in importance.
This book looks at this largely uninvestigated issue through case studies in the Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda: here the loss of land often represents the loss of people's livelihoods in these areas of extreme land scarcity in highly populated regions. In the post-conflict states of the Great Lakes, governance challenges increase the risk of dispossession of the already poor and vulnerable: formal institutions are weak or biased; customary authorities have lost some of their moral authority. The cases in this book show in particular how local power dynamics, often rooted in history, bear upon the processes of land competition, dispossession and land grabbing. This timely volume will be important not only for those in African Studies, but for those in development studies, as well as practitioners and policy-makers worldwide.

An Ansoms is assistant professor in development studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium); Thea Hilhorst is a senior advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.


October 2014
1 line illustrations
232 pages
21.6x14 cm
African Issues
ISBN: 9781847011053
Format: Paperback
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC POL029000, BUS072000, SOC002000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Causes and risks of dispossession and land grabbing in the Great Lakes region - An Ansoms and Thea Hilhorst
Land grabbing and development history: The Congolese experience - Jean-Philippe Peemans
This land is my land: Land grabbing in Ituri (DRC) - Daniel Fahey
Land grabbing by mining companies: Local contentions and state reconfiguration in South-Kivu (DRC) - Sara Geenen and Jana Hönke
Competition over soil and subsoil: Land grabbing by local elites in South Kivu (Eastern DRC) - Klara Claessens and Emery Mudinga and An Ansoms
The continuities in contested land acquisitions in Uganda by Mathijs van Leeuwen, Ilse Zeemeijer, Doreen Kobusingye, Charles Muchunguzi, Linda Haartsen and Claudia Piacenza
Land grabbing and power relations in Burundi: Practical norms and real governance - Aymar Nyenyezi and An Ansoms
Land grabbing and land tenure security in post-genocide Rwanda - Chris Huggins
The reorganization of rural space in Rwanda: Habitat concentration, land consolidation and collective marshland cultivation by An Ansoms, Giuseppe Cioffo, Chris Huggins and Jude Murison
"Modernizing Kigali": The struggle for space in the Rwandan urban context - Vincent Manirakiza and An Ansoms
Conclusion - An Ansoms and Thea Hilhorst

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