Dated: July 2012
The acquisition of land by foreigners in developing countries has emerged as a key mechanism for foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI is defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as the category of international investment that reflects the objective of a resident entity in one economy to obtain a lasting interest in an enterprise resident in another economy. With land as a significant basic factor of production, the entry of FDI in most countries often requires a non-citizen investor to engage with public authorities and private citizens on the acquisition of rights over land for investment purposes. Foreign acquisition of land in developing countries, such as Kenya, has been there, since colonial times. In the context of this research, the term land acquisition is applied to include actual purchases or leases of land by foreign or non-citizen entities, for purposes of investments. This is an important issue for Kenya, due to new constitutional rules that create restrictions on landholding by non-citizens (legal or natural), as part of ongoing land reforms. It is important to explore this element in the context of land requirements for investment purposes because the demand for such land is increasing. In any event, the constitution needs to protect local communities where any public land is set aside for local or foreign investment purposes.
This research focuses on foreign or non-citizen investments. It aims to propose a policy or legislative process that will only permit investments that are beneficial to the economy and the people of Kenya.