The distribution of land in Malawi is highly unequal and frequently inefficient. Large areas of land are underutilised in a context where many Malawian farmers would be able to put such land to productive use. In this context, the Malawian government has been slow and ineffective in undertaking land reforms, despite large demand for change both from investors and the local population.
Our sugar is made from sugarcane. And sugarcane is not planted in trees or in the air, it’s planted in the ground, in the soil, on land. It’s the bedrock of our investment.
—Illovo Land Champion
Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Rwanda is a small country and landlocked. It covers an area of 26,338 km². In Rwanda, land is an important issue due to two different characteristics: first is that Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (416 people per km2 – (NISR, 2012). Being an agricultural country, where over 85% of its working class citizens depend on agriculture, adds more pressure on land as the sole economic capital to the rural peasants.
Post-conflict situations remain strained for years and can easily relapse into violence during the first two decades. During this social, political, and economic transition phase, post-conflict countries are especially fragile and vulnerable. Increasingly acknowledged as a key driver or root cause for conflict, land is as much a critical relapse factor as it is a bottleneck to recovery . In the aftermath of war, access to and control of land and natural resources often remains a sensitive issue for years which may precipitate tensions and challenge stability. At the same time, resolving land-related issues is significant to achieve sustainable and durable peace. Yet, it is just one item on a long list of issues that need to be addressed in post-conflict periods next to reconciliation and transitional justice processes, establishing security and a functioning state, economic recovery, and the rebuilding of social cohesion .
UN member States endorsed the 2030 Agenda and committed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 Global Goals, in a 15-year period. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains land-related targets and indicators under SDGs 1, 2, 5, 11 and 15.