Mortgaging the Future: The World Bank’s Land Agenda in Africa

November 2002
Ambreena Manji (University of Warwick)

Analyses the World Bank’s Policy Research Report (PRR) from a gender perspective and is critical of the consultation process on it thus far. It has important implications for women in Africa. The Bank believes land should be viewed not as a source of subsistence but of capital. It ignores women’s unpaid labour as a factor in agricultural productivity. It treats the household as an undifferentiated unit and ignores that the family often functions as a site of oppression. The Bank stresses ‘motivated’ family labour but ignores that much of women’s labour is far from voluntary. It also ignores the consequences for households of defaulting on loans using land as collateral and the real possibility that rural farmers may find themselves landless as a result. Issues of labour and capital are now of central importance to land relations in Africa.