SMAIAS’ primary goal is to promote informed and relevant debate around land and agrarian policy issues in Africa by providing relevant and rigorous analysis, backed by solid empirical research into the different dimensions of the issues at stake. As an independent research organisation committed to standards of excellence and impartiality, the SMAIAS aims to support the work of policy analysts and activists seeking to transform rural society in a progressive and sustainable manner.
The Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies was established as an independent Trust in 2002 to fulfil a need that had been observed through research, for a policy institute focused on addressing Africa's land and agrarian questions. The AIAS interacts with various organisations and countries to assist them in developing capacity for policy formulation and research. It also facilitates policy dialogue among governments, academics, civil society and others on land and agrarian development, especially the land rights of marginalised social groups.
Their mission is to strengthen land and agrarian policies in Africa through research based policy mediation and advocacy through five core strategies: research, policy dialogues, training, information dissemination and networking. They engage with key actors throughout Africa including governments,
international and regional governance organisations, universities, NGOs, researchers, students and the donor community.
In the past decade their central focus has been on building an Independent African Knowledge Resource on Agrarian Issues to promote research into topics such as land, food, markets and trade which have special significance for populations of the Global South. They work in partnership with regional and international networks of researchers, research institutions, universities and CSO policy analysts. Their two key networks are the Land & Agrarian Network which includes Zimbabwean interest groups, local scholars and researchers; and the Agrarian South Network made up of scholars and researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Collectively these networks manage the Agrarian Summer School, the recently launched International Agrarian South (SAGE) Journal and other training projects.
Their Agrarian Summer School Programme – which takes place every year in January - has become an important platform for dialogue, network building, knowledge sharing and learning with partners from other African countries, Latin America and Asia.
Their extensive research has been published in books, journals, articles and policy briefs and in 2012, their new journal ‘Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy’ (Sage Publications) was launched as a platform to raise the profile of Southern Scholarship in debates over the Agrarian Questions of the 21st century.
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