Agrarian reform, rural development and governance in Africa: A case of eastern and Southern Africa

"This paper broadly explores common themes that underpin the formulation and implementation of land and agrarian policies in four select countries, namely South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Economic, egalitarian, and political motives are often used to justify the need for redistributive land reforms, defined as redistributing land from the rich to the poor. The main economic rationale for land reform lies in the inverse-farm productivity relationship that accords greater efficiency outputs for smaller farms than for their larger-scale counterparts. Efficient use of factor inputs (eg labour) is frequently cited as one of the reasons for small farms’ efficiency outcome. Equity considerations can also create the need for land reform, especially in countries where a significant proportion of the population relies on agriculture for its subsistence. In countries with a history of social injustice or exclusion where land ownership is concerned, political motives justify redistributive land reforms. Equity and political considerations have been the driving motives – this is notable in the discourse that defines the land reform programmes in the four countries this paper seeks to review."