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“In the Public Interest”: Forced Evictions, Land Rights and Human Development in Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2007


This article discusses the phenomenon of forced evictions in Africa and the implications for land rights and human development. It argues that the “public interest“ justification often proffered for forced evictions by African governments is a myth. The article proposes three alternative explanations for forced evictions: (a) antiquated and inappropriate planning laws of colonial origin; (b) corruption; and (c) failure of development and land reforms. The escalating urban and rural land crises in Africa, the article argues, violate human rights with grave implications for human development and regional security. The article concludes by proposing a new policy direction based on participatory and more inclusive principles.

Research Article
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 2007

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