Challenges of Local Community Participation In Decision-Making Over Land for Biofuels

Opportuna L Kweka


This article examines how decision to give land to foreign investors for biofuels in four districts of Kisarawe, Bagamoyo, Rufiji, and Kilwa were made. It aims at assessing the extent to which villagers were involved in decision-making. Drawing from literature on decentralization and community participation in decision-making, the article identifies challenges facing community participation in decision-making over land for foreign direct investment in biofuels. Secondly, the article examines participation and accountability of different stakeholders in decision-making. Lastly, it assesses the effectiveness of decentralization of land management in Tanzania in bringing development to local communities. It draws evidence from interviews with villagers, government officials, investors in biofuels, and minutes of village meetings to discuss land acquisition by the investors. The article argues that while many studies on community participation have identified challenges in ensuring community participation in development, there are specific challenges associated with foreign direct investment and land resources. It shows that certain types of development projects such as foreign direct investment, and certain types of resources such as land, demand accountability and governance at different levels of decision-making and not just by the local communities. In this case accountability of the state and the foreign investors is equally important as that of the local community.


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