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The politics of LNG: Local state power and contested demands for land acquisitions in Palma, Moz

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 14 Nov 2017
Time: 13:30 to 14:30

Presenter: Padil Salimo, PhD Fellow at Roskilde University and University of Dar-es-Salaam and Research Associate at PLAAS

In the wake of the recent discovery of huge reserves of gas in the Rovuma basin in northern Mozambique, massive investments in onshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are planned in the Afungi Peninsula, Palma. The political-economy dynamics related to these investments have resulted in an extraordinary demand for land by multinational oil companies and ruling elite actors in the private sector, putting pressure on the local government to manage land acquisitions. Thus insecurity of land tenure for local communities becomes a matter of concern as their interests in ‘getting a good deal’ are threatened by the competing interests of multinational oil companies and ruling elites. In these processes, the local government itself becomes contested, as its role in the dialogue and decision-making process related to land acquisitions is conceived by local communities to be incompatible with community interests, as they are more aligned with the interests of multinational investors and domestic elite actors. The paper analyses the relations between the local government, international oil companies, and local communities related to the process of negotiation over compensation for land, arguing that the bargaining power of local government is too weak to secure the interests of local communities when pitted against the competing interests of multinational oil companies and ruling elites. The consequence is that the rights of local communities to land and fair compensation are potentially endangered.

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