Natural Resource Investments: Land Acquisitions and Development Strategies in Africa and Southeast Asia

Wednesday, 21 May 2014, 9.30-11.35


DIIS, Danish Institute for International Studies

Main auditorium

Gl. Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A

2100 Copenhagen





There has been a surge of large-scale investments into agriculture in developing countries over the last decade. These land acquisitions have often been described as ‘land grabs’ that threaten smallholders’ food security and undermine national sovereignty. However, recent empirical research suggests that investments may also have the opposite effects: Small-holders may become land grabbers and states may promote large-scale investments into crop production in order to increase food security and strengthen state control over national territory.


This seminar sheds light on some of these dynamics in Africa and Southeast Asia. Tom Lavers is a researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva. His recent work has focused on land acquisitions as a state-sponsored development strategy in Ethiopia published recently in the Journal of Peasant Studies and the Journal of Modern African Studies. Derek Hall is the author of the recently released book Land by Polity Press (2013) and co-author of Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in South-East Asia (2011).


The DIIS seminar series on the Political Economy of Natural Resource Investments explores the impact of natural resources on economics, politics, development, foreign aid, conflict, and geopolitics in Africa. The seminars seek to highlight the global-local dimension of natural resource extraction and governance in Africa in particular. They also consider how new resource-rich countries can harness this wealth towards broad economic development and poverty reduction to avoid the negative economic and political consequences of the ‘resource curse’ experienced elsewhere.





Tom Lavers, Researcher, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

Derek Hall, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Postdoc, DIIS







Chair: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Postdoc, DIIS




Agricultural investment in Ethiopia: Analysing the political economy of the
‘land grab’


Tom Lavers, UNRISD






Chair: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Postdoc, DIIS




Coffee break




Land Grabs and Crop Booms in Southeast Asia


Derek Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University




Q&A and Discussion


Chair: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Postdoc, DIIS





Practical information


The seminar will be in English.


Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Tuesday, 20 May 2014 at 12.00 noon.


Sign up



Danish Institute for International Studies

Gammel Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A, 2100 Copenhagen - Ph.: +45 3269 8660 - -