Responsible Investments in Land: perspectives from Tanzania and globally

From June 5-16, 2017, Landesa and the Land Portal will co-facilitate a dialogue through which a variety of stakeholders will contribute to discussion on the principles and practices of land-based investments, with a focus on the Tanzanian context. This is intended as part of the broader conversation on responsible investment in land principles, guidelines and practices that has proliferated since, at least, the 2009 food crisis and subsequent ‘land grabs’ that swept the global south. This discussion is intended to bring to the fore a grounded perspective on a conversation and debate that often remains in the conceptual or abstract. The Tanzanian context is particularly relevant because of the government’s interest to increase agricultural investment and revise the current National Land Policy with the process underway, which, among other topics, has implications for decision-making processes around land-based investments.

Engaging both Tanzanian stakeholders and global experts, the conversation has two primary objectives. The first is to increase awareness about investment practices in Tanzania and empower the voices from within Tanzania to discuss the realities of trying to improve responsible investment practices in Tanzania: What is government doing that is facilitating better practices? What can, should, and are companies doing to improve their investment practices and to bring about more equitable investment projects? What role can civil society and the global community play to improve investment practices and ensure that communities are more equitable business partners and beneficiaries? The second is to facilitate dialogue amongst, and improve the understanding of global experts and practitioners who are designing and/or advocating for more responsible investment practices in the region and globally: What gaps persist between principles and on the ground realities, and can those be overcome? What can the global community do to continue generating awareness, strengthening stakeholders’ capacity, and improving incentives for socially responsible land investments? The discussion will therefore aim to generate and capture knowledge that often leaves out or is inaccessible to different stakeholder groups. This is expected to increase understanding among different stakeholders, improve analyses, and generate recommendations for the advancement of responsible land investments.




The specific objectives of this dialogue are to:


  • Increase exchange of information between a variety of stakeholders on responsible investments in land principles and practices;
  • Increase awareness of the practical implications of responsible investment practices – both opportunities and constraints – in an empirical context: Tanzania;
  • Engage and amplify voices from Tanzania to contribute to solutions in their own country, and throughout the global south, that will improve investment practices;
  • Generate dialogue that can inform potential strategies and actions to improve responsible investment practices, in Tanzania and globally.


Dialogue questions


(1) What do “responsible investments in land” look like in practice?

  • What can, should, and are companies doing to bring about more equitable and socially responsible investment projects?
  • Where are we gaining ground, making improvements?
  • What are some persistent gaps between international best practices (such as the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance and Tenure (VGGTs) and the African Union Guiding Principles) and practice that need the most attention? What gaps, if any, are unrealistic to bridge, and what should be done?
  • How are gender differences in investment processes, participation and decision making, and benefit sharing being addressed, and to what effect?
  • (Implicitly through targeted discussants: perspectives from Tanzania)


(2) What is the role of civil society in promoting responsible investments and gap filling?

  • How can/should civil society respond to governance gaps to protect land rights, and to empower communities, and women and men smallholders and community members, to participate more equitably as business partners and beneficiaries?
  • What technical gaps can/should NGOs and CSOs help to fill (e.g. land tenure expertise; gender expertise; development and implementation of grievance mechanisms and dispute resolution)?
  • Can, should CSOs serve as 3rd party intermediaries between community members and business (e.g. for land and livelihood assessments or valuation and compensation)?
  • (Implicitly through targeted discussants: perspectives from Tanzania)


(3) What can we learn from Tanzania?

  • How might government strengthen the policy framework to improve investments in Tanzania?
  • What are some of the obstacles to addressing gender differences and realizing more gender-equitable investments, and how can they be overcome?
  • How can communities be more aware of and able to assert their land rights and strengthen their negotiating capacity in dealing with business?




Coming soon
5 June 2017 to 16 June 2017