Prof Phil Woodhouse

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Prof Phil Woodhouse is professor of environment and development at the University of Manchester, UK. He originally trained as an agricultural scientist, graduating from the universities of Oxford (BA) and Reading (PhD) in the UK. Following eight years researching land productivity problems in Mozambique, he has been based in the UK while undertaking research in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa on the political and economic aspects of land and water management and their relationship to agricultural productivity.

In South Africa, his research has spanned nearly twenty years, focusing on changing governance of water and land in the Mpumalanga lowveld.

Abstract for Plenary Panel

Dual trajectories? Property and productivity in African natural resources

The paper will trace different pathways through which commoditisation of natural resources has been promoted and resisted in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on land and water . It will examine the relationship between tenure rights, their exchange – or not – through markets, and processes of investment and conservation of land productivity for agriculture and other forms of land use. The paper will examine the extent to which dualism is rooted in colonial administration of land rights continues to mark current processes by which people can gain access to, and use, land and water. It considers what implications this may have in terms of the role and value attributed to land in African societies and it identifies key questions that this legacy poses for policy-makers and land users in Africa.


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