INTRODUCTION: Large-scale land acquisitions are a reality in most regions worldwide. Vast areas of land are leased to foreign as well as national investors on a long term basis of 30-99 years. A growing number of reports, referring to this practice as ‘land grabbing’, show that these mostly very intransparent deals tend to go along with corruption, forced evictions and other human rights violations as well as enhanced competition over water.
More than eleven years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda might be an internally pacified, but by far not unified nation. There are different factors, which threaten the fragile social equilibrium. The issue of land is one of them. Land has long been a scarce and disputed resource in Rwanda. Ongoing shortages due to decreasing soil quality, growing population pressure and unequal distribution, as well as a lack of income generating alternatives beyond agriculture create an extremely precarious future to the national economy of the small, landlocked country.