‘Land belongs to the community’: Demystifying the ‘global land grab’ in Southern Sudan

This paper presents data on large-scale land acquisitions in 2 ‘Green Belt’ states of Southern Sudan


Sudan is among the global ‘hotspots’ for large-scale land acquisitions. Although most of this investment activity was thought to be focused in the Northern part of the country, recent research indicates that a surprising number of large-scale land acquisitions have taken place in the South as well in recent years. Now that Southern Sudanese have opted for independence in the 2011 referendum on self-determination, investment activity will likely increase further. This paper presents preliminary data concerning large-scale land acquisitions in two of the ‘Green Belt’ states of Southern Sudan: Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria. It explores the concept ‘land belongs to the community’, a statement that has been taken up by communities in their demand for greater involvement in decision-making regarding community lands. It also examines processes of company–community engagement and the extent to which rural communities are being involved in investment projects. Finally, the paper presents a number of case studies that illustrate the complex interplay between cultural sovereignty, conflict, and post-war reconstruction in Southern Sudan. It concludes with recommendations for the government moving forward.


Deng, D.K. LDPI Working Paper 4. Land belongs to the community: Demystifying the global land grab in Southern Sudan. The Land Deal Politics Initiative, (2011) 29 pp.

LDPI Working Paper 4. ‘Land belongs to the community’: Demystifying the ‘global land grab’ in Southern Sudan

Published 1 January 2011