Underlying causes of Kenya’s famine
IPN, Ground floor conference room, 3-7 Temple Avenue, London EC4Y 0HP
Featuring Mike Norton Griffiths, ecologist and IPN summer research fellow
RSVP (acceptances only): Denise Teixeira, events |AT| policynetwork.net, 020 3393 8410
Once again, millions in East Africa are suffering from famine – the majority of them subsistence farmers whose fates are tied to the vagaries of the weather. How can poor Africans escape from this tragic, hand-to-mouth existence?
Ecologist-economist Mike Norton Griffiths shows how property rights might help solve East Africa’s problems. His research in Kenya shows that much of Kenya’s land is subject to weak, “customary” tenure rules, undermining economic development. He shows that those lands which are subject to “freehold” or “commercial leasehold tenure” are three to four times as productive.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s 2009 National Land Policy threatens to cause severe harm to the country’s economy by undermining commercial leases and freehold. In the midst of an international crisis, is this really the answer?
In this occasional lecture for IPN, Mr Norton Griffiths will discuss the development of tenure rules in Kenya, describe his research into the returns from different classes of land, and offer some proposals for more constructive land policy reform.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Mike Norton-Griffiths has been a resident of east Africa since 1969, first as the senior ecologist in the Serengeti National Park, then as founder and CEO of an environmental consulting company, and later with the United Nations Environment Programme. In 1992 he was a Visiting Scientist at HIID, Harvard, after which he joined Professor David Pearce’s group, CSERGE, at University College London. He continues to consult on economic issues of land use and conservation in Kenya. More recently he has been a summer Research Fellow at IPN, a Research Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Centre in Bozeman, Montana, and has set up national wildlife census and monitoring units in Kazakhstan and Mongolia.