Do Investors Really Manage to Have Secure Land Rights? Land Deals and Competition Over Land Control in Madagascar.
Beyond the well-publicised abandonment of Daewoo's gigantic agricultural project, largescale appropriations continue in Madagascar. Based on case studies, this paper analyses how land deals are partly shaped by the competition for control over land access. The Malagasy legal framework does have the potential to regulate large-scale land acquisitions and protect local land rights protection. But, all these positive-laws are not enforced due to investors’ strategies to access to land and competition among state and non-state institutions for control over land resources. To gain access, most investors both engage in formal procedures and establish informal land agreements but they only negotiate with what, for them, are the “most visible” institutions, i.e. positive law institutions. Hence, neither of these two routes ensures tenure security. In view of the material and symbolic resources at stake, state officials generally help them to access land. However, the different state institutions find themselves competing over land control to assert greater authority. These power struggles generally hinder the land deals and take precedence over the respect of the pro-smallholder provisions of the recent land reform. As a consequence, some local landholders resort to violence to defend their rights while the access to land for investors is far from being guaranteed.