Forests to the Foreigners: Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Gabon



For the past decade, the land rush discourse has analyzed foreign investment in land and agriculture around the world, with Africa being a continent of particular focus due to the scale of acquisitions that have taken place. Gabon, a largely forested state in Central Africa, has been neglected in the land rush conversations, despite having over half of its land allocated to forestry, agriculture, and mining concessions. This paper draws on existing evidence and contributes new empirical data through expert interviews to fill this critical knowledge gap. We situate Gabon's historic relationship with land, establishing the intrinsic relationship between colonial land tenure systems and present-day land rights. Our findings analyze the macro context of investors and investments, as well as the impacts related to rural–urban linkages and infrastructure development into the forests, civil society, human–environment relationships, and certification programs. While challenges continue to be experienced, the promise of Gabon's first national land use plan—the use of sustainable concessions and mandatory forestry certification—offers a unique opportunity for Gabon to transition towards a future that better benefits its population while also protecting its natural resources. 

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The Transnational Land Rush in Africa

The Transnational Land Rush in Africa: A Decade After the Spike

Abstract: This volume provides up-to-date information on what has happened in the African 'land rush', providing national case studies for countries that were heavily impacted. The research will be a critical resource for students, researchers, advocates and policy makers as it provides detailed, long-term assessments of a broad range of national contexts. In addition to the specific questions of land and investment, this book sheds light on the broader international political economy of development in different African countries.

It is available via Palgrave here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-030-60789-0 or the DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-60789-0 

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The UAE as a Global Donor

The United Arab Emirates as a global donor: what a decade of foreign aid data transparency reveals

Open Access article: https://doi.org/10.1080/21665095.2021.1883453 or here https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21665095.2021.1883453

Abstract: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a leading contributor of foreign aid, in terms of percentage of gross national income as well as in total amount. Historically, Emirati aid was opaque, and little was known about the foreign aid portfolio. This changed after 2009 when the UAE began to submit detailed, project-level data to the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. Based on a decade of aid transparency, this article carries out an examination of the political economy of aid provided by the UAE, comparing its portfolio to other donor countries. Particular attention is paid to analyzing three primary recipients of its aid (Egypt, Serbia and Yemen) and the implicit motivations driving those decisions. The majority of Emirati aid to these three countries was granted as general budgetary support, often in tandem with efforts to achieve political, economic and/or military aims. Based on the findings, an evaluation is made regarding Emirati narratives of South-South cooperation and its seeking of mutual benefit as well as critiques put forward within the literature countering this. In addition to critically assessing the details of an under-researched aid portfolio, this paper highlights areas for further study to deepen our understanding of the UAE's foreign aid. 

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Call for Submissions: Chapters in "Ethiopia: Social, Economic and Political Issues"

Call for Submissions: Book Chapters in "Ethiopia: Social, Economic and Political Issues"

There have been significant social, economic and political changes in in Ethiopia in recent decades. Healthcare coverage has rapidly expanded but much progress is still needed; access to education has improved but there are questions of quality and employment; macro-economic growth has been amongst the highest in the world for over a decade but there are questions of rising inequality; infrastructure has expanded throughout the nation, often at the expense of some; the second largest safety net in Africa has received acclaim and criticism; foreign direct investment has been relatively strong, but the quality of employment opportunities is questionable; recent political transitions have changed a negative narrative more positive, but many questions about democracy and inclusion remain. This edited volume will present diverse experiences, perspectives, geographies, and sectors in the social, economic and political realms. The collection of research will show the complexity of the changes, and the diverse ways in which change is experienced.

Estimated publication timeline:

Abstract deadline: July 31, 2018

Chapter deadline: November 30, 2018

Peer review process: December 2018 – February 2019

Revision of chapter: March 2019

Submission to publish: April 2019

Expected publication: End of 2019 or early 2020

This is a call for chapter contributions. The book will be edited by Logan Cochrane (Carleton University, Canada) and published by Nova. Abstract submissions (200-500 words) should be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Chapters must be original and unpublished
  • Submissions only accepted in English
  • Chapters between 4000 and 7000 words
  • Chapter to follow provided style guides
  • Editor and publisher have right to reject submissions
  • The volume will aim for thematic balance and geographic representation

For additional information contact Logan Cochrane (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Logan is a Banting Fellow at Carleton University (Canada) and affiliated with Hawassa University (Ethiopia). He has worked in, and conducted research on, Ethiopia for over a decade. For additional information, see:http://logancochrane.com/

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