Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo: Land Reforms and Natural Resource Conflicts in Africa: New Development Paradigms in the Era of Global Liberalization

Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo earned a diplôme de licence and diplôme d'agrégation from Université de Kisangani in Democratic Republic of Congo, an M.A. from Harvard University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is a professor of political science at Wells College where he is the chair of the Department of International Studies. He is a Diasporan fellow at the Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy and an external examiner in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana. He has taught political science in institutions such as Suffolk University, Vassar College, Bard College, the University of Massachusetts, Wellesley College, and the University of Liberia where he served as the chair of the Department of Political Science. He was a visiting research fellow at the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education at Hiroshima University in Japan, and the coordinator of an advanced research project titled "Conflicts, Violence, and Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa." His research and teaching areas include governance and democracy, comparative politics, international political economy, international relations, environmental policy, education, and development. His works deal with various world regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, South America) and North-South relations.

Lumumba-Kasongo has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, monographs, and several books. He is the editor-in-chief of African and Asian Studies, published by Brill in The Netherlands; and coeditor of the African Journal of International Affairs published by CODESRIA. He has received several academic and scholarship awards.

Abstract:

This presentation is a "Land Reforms" project that was coordinated by Lumumba-Kasongo and through which his edited book, Land Reforms and Natural Resource Conflicts in Africa: New Development Paradigms in the Era of Global Liberalization, was produced.

Lumumba-Kasongo will discuss theoretical, methodological, and policy issues related to this project. The overall analysis is on a critical examination of the place and role of land in political or state formation and the African political economy. Land as an economic resource within both national economic development and liberal globalization is examined comparatively and historically as part of colonial and post-colonial policy imperatives that have been rooted in four related claims: the struggle over scarce resources, especially access to land resources; actual or perceived abundance of natural resources mismanaged or appropriated by the states, local power systems, and multinationals; weakness or absence of articulated land tenure policies, leading to speculation or hybrid policy framework; and the imperatives of the global liberalization based on the free market principles to regulate the land question and mineral appropriation issue. It is argued that the actualization of these combined claims have led to conflicts among ethnic groups or between them and governments. This project is not only about conflicts, but also about local policy achievements that have been produced on the land question. It provides a critical understanding of the forces and claims related to land tenure systems, as part of the state policy and its system of governance.