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Property institutions and state capacity: a comparative analysis of Chinese agricultural projects in Zambia

Yang, Yuezhou (2024) Property institutions and state capacity: a comparative analysis of Chinese agricultural projects in Zambia. The Journal of Development Studies. ISSN 0022-0388

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00220388.2024.2328034


A long-standing literature argues that African states have weak capacity, especially in regulating land. Increasingly, scholarly work on foreign land acquisition in developing countries recognizes that the African states and subnational actors have played an important and diverse role in (re)structuring access and control over land and natural resources. I contribute to this scholarship by focusing on the role of African property institutions and propose a land tenure regime theory as the mechanism through which foreign agricultural projects and African state capacity interact. By process-tracing three Chinese agricultural projects in Zambia as typical cases, I show that Zambian state structures investment strategies of Chinese investors through different configurations of rule of land access, transfer and control in each LTR. Furthermore, Zambian state capacity in enforcing contract and projecting infrastructural power can be reinforced or tested through investing CAgriIs in different LTRs. My findings challenge the ‘weak state’ argument and raise important questions of how African governments should approach rural development on customary land.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: School of Public Policy
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Subjects: S Agriculture
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2024 16:57
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 03:57

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