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Youjin Brigitte Chung

Ph.D. Candidate

Thesis/dissertation abstract:

Title: Sweet Deal, Bitter Landscapes: Gender and the New Enclosures in Coastal Tanzania

Abstract: In the wake of the food crisis of 2007/8, there has been a phenomenal rush for farmland in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Referred to by some as a “global land grab,” or the “new enclosures,” a wide range of investors have rushed to acquire land for the purposes of producing agricultural commodities. In Tanzania, the national state has been at the forefront of promoting large-scale land deals through public-private partnerships (PPPs) to achieve agriculture-led growth and development. My dissertation examines the gender dimensions and implications of one particular PPP for industrial sugarcane production in Bagamoyo District, Coast (Pwani) Region of Tanzania. This PPP is a joint venture between the Tanzanian government and a Swedish company, called EcoEnergy, in which the former has agreed to lease 20,374 hectares of public land to the latter for 99 years, in exchange for 25 percent equity share in the investment. While the deal was announced in 2006, its implementation remains stalled on the ground because the government and the company have been unable to resolve the issue of how to remove and compensate over 1,000 rural women and men who are currently subsisting on the land. My dissertation uses this land deal as a window on to three related aspects of contemporary African development: the increasing privatization of development through PPPs and commercial land leases; the devolution and fragmentation of authority in the governance of development processes; and the gendered contestations over natural resources on which rural development depends.


Fieldwork/project location:

Coast Region, Tanzania

Committee members:

Wendy Wolford (Chair)

Philip McMichael

Rachel Bezner-Kerr

Rick Schroeder (External member, Geography, Rutgers University)