Till to tiller:

Linkages Between International Remittances and Access to Land in West Africa

Lorenzo Cotula and Camilla Toulmin
with
Hilde van Vlaenderen, Serigne Mansour Tall, Gora Gaye, Jacqueline Saunders,
Clement Ahiadeke and John K. Anarfi
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
UK

July 2004

Cover: FAO photo


FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Livelihood Support Programme (LSP)
An inter-departmental Programme for improving support for enhancing livelihoods of the rural poor.

 

Table of Contents

This paper was prepared under contract with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The positions and opinions presented are those of the authors alone, and are not intended to represent the views of FAO.

This paper was prepared for FAO’s Land Tenure Service and Sub-programme 3.1 (“Access to natural resources”) of the Livelihood Support Programme. Funding was also provided to IIED by SIDA.

The Livelihood Support Programme

The Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) evolved from the belief that FAO could have a greater impact on reducing poverty and food insecurity, if its wealth of talent and experience were integrated into a more flexible and demand-responsive team approach.

The LSP, which is executed by FAO with funding provided by DfID, works through teams of FAO staff members who are attracted to specific themes being worked on in a sustainable livelihoods context. These cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary teams act to integrate sustainable livelihoods principles in FAO’s work, at headquarters and in the field. These approaches build on experiences within FAO and other development agencies.

The programme is functioning as a testing ground for both team approaches and sustainable livelihoods principles.

Email: lsp@fao.org

Access to natural resources sub-programme

Access by the poor to natural resources (land, forests, water, fisheries, pastures, etc.), is essential for sustainable poverty reduction. The livelihoods of rural people without access, or with very limited access to natural resources are vulnerable because they have difficulty in obtaining food, accumulating other assets, and recuperating after natural or market shocks or misfortunes.

The main goal of this sub-programme is to build stakeholder capacity to improve poor people’s access to natural resources through the application of sustainable livelihood approaches. The sub-programme is working in the following thematic areas:

1. Sustainable livelihood approaches in the context of access to different natural resources

2. Access to natural resources and making rights real

3. Livelihoods and access to natural resources in a rapidly changing world

This paper contributes to the third thematic area by exploring the role that remittances play regarding access to land and other natural resources. The paper helps to address the fact that despite extensive work on both migration and development, the links between the two remain little understood by policy makers and development practitioners, and little is known of the factors and policies that can help maximize social and economic outcomes.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background
1.2 Object and scope
1.3 Methodology
1.4 Limitations
1.5 Plan of the study

2. EXPLORING THE LINKAGES BETWEEN REMITTANCES AND ACCESS TO LAND: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 Setting the scene
2.2 The great “migration and development” debate

Pessimists v optimists
Remittances - a relatively large and stable source of funding for developing countries
Remittances and development: macro, meso and micro level linkages

2.3 Remittances within household livelihood strategies

Methodological challenges
Households’ use of remittances: some caveats
Food, clothing, health care and education
Housing
Business
Religious buildings and ceremonies
The “dark side” of remittances

2.4 Remittances and land: exploring the linkages

Land purchases
Looking beyond purchases
All is well that ends in wells?
Some thoughts on land use changes
Are “stay-behinds” left behind?
Gender
The impact of remittances on the land tenure system

2.5 Factors affecting remittance decisions

3. SENEGAL

3.1 Introduction
3.2 The field sites

Moudéry
Kër Momar Sarr
Paris

3.3 Migration between Senegal and France

Who migrates?
Why migrate?
Living in France
Return to Senegal... or not?

3.4 Remittances and livelihoods

Remittances and household livelihood strategies
Remittances and village associations

3.5 Remittances, access to land and agriculture

Land tenure in Senegal
Access to land for our respondents
The changing relationship with rural land
Obstacles to investment in rural land

3.6 Conclusion

4. GHANA

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Migrating from Ghana to the UK

A migrant’s life in London - networks and associations

4.3 Remittances and livelihoods

Remittances - how much?
And in what form?
Remittance use

4.4 Remittances and access to land

Land tenure and use in Ghana
Using remittances to improve access to land
Soaring land prices and access to land
Land use, tenure and disputes

4.5 Conclusion

5. CONCLUSIONS

5.1 To sum up

An important livelihood and development contribution
Remittances and access to land

5.2 Areas for further work

Remittances and diverse land access mechanisms
Remittances, access to land and agriculture
Intra-household dynamics
Policies and institutions to promote remittances and their best use
Remittances, land and decentralization
Working also in destination countries

ANNEX 1. PORTRAITS OF MIGRANTS

REFERENCES

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE LSP

LSP WORKING PAPERS TO JULY 2004