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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Pr. Sam Moyo (2008-2011)

The late Professor Sam Moyo (1954-2015) was a well respected Zimbabwean scholar who published extensively on land, agrarian and environmental issues. He was the founder and executive director of the Harare based African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS), an independent policy research institution committed to the development of agrarian systems that enhance equitable land rights and sustainable land uses throughout Africa. In 2016, the organization was renamed the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies in his honour.

Sam Moyo had extensive years of research and teaching experience on rural development issues with a focus on land reform, agrarian change, environmental policy, and social movements. He lectured in various universities including Calabar and Port Harcourt in Nigeria, the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, and in various international training programmes.

His extensive portfolio also included leading and managing a wide range of policy research, university and civil society organizations in Africa. He was a founding research fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies which was in 1990 incorporated into the University of Zimbabwe as the Institute of Development Studies. He was a founder member of Harare based ZERO (a SADC region Environment Organization) and was its Executive Secretary from 1986 to 1999 and Chairman from 2000 to 2011. He  worked as an Associate Professor at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe and as a Director for the Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies (SARIPS) based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He also worked as a senior advisor on land policy matters concerning various governments in the southern Africa region and acted as senior advisor and chair of numerous land networks such as the Southern African Network on Land (SANL), Land Rights Network of Southern Africa (LRNSA), and Knowledge Management Africa–Development Bank of Southern Africa (KMA-DBSA). Sam Moyo served in various boards including: HAKIARDHI (Tanzania), International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs) in India, ZERO (Zimbabwe). He was also a reviewer and editorial board member for the following: Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE), Journal of Peacebuilding and Development and the African Journal of International Affairs. It was under Moyo’s stewardship that the Agrarian South Network, a tri-continental network of researchers interested in land and agrarian questions from Africa, Asia and Latin America/Carribean, was born.

A robust thinker and leading academic, Sam Moyo was involved in several major publications. Some of his key celebrated academic works are:

(1) Books which include: The Land Question in Zimbabwe (Harare: Sapes Books, 1995); Land Reform Under Structural Adjustment in Zimbabwe (Uppsala: The Nordic Africa Institute, 2000); African Land Questions, Agrarian Transitions and the State: Contradictions of Neoliberal Land Reforms, (CODESRIA Greenbook, Dakar: 2008);

(2) Articles: The Politics of Land Distribution and Race Relations in Southern Africa (New York: UNRISD, Sept. 2001); (co-authored with Paris Yeros): The radicalized state: Zimbabwe’s interrupted revolution. Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) No. 111: 103-121. 2007; (Co-authored with Paris Yeros): The Zimbabwe Question and the Two Lefts. Historical Materialism 15 (2007) 1771-204. BRILL. (2007);

(3) Co-edited various book publications which include (recently published): [co-edited with Paris Yeros]: Reclaiming the Land: The Resurgence of Rural Movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America (London: Zed Books, 2005); [co-edited with Kojo Sebastian Amanor]: Land and Sustainable Development in Africa (London: Zed Books, April 2008).

He served as the Vice President of CODESRIA from 1995-1998 and subsequently as its President from 2008-2011.

Professor Moyo passed away in November, 2015 following injuries sustained in a car accident in New Delhi, India.

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