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Research on avoiding corruption in large-scale land based investments in Africa

Application Closing Date - 18 Jun 2018

Job Start Date - July / August 2018

Duration - July / August to December 2018

Location - remote with travel


Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Through more than 100 chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, Germany, TI raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption and works with partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective measures to tackle it.

The Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S) in Berlin is seeking a consultant to conduct research on “avoiding corruption in large scale land based investments (LSLBI) in Africa.”

As an integral part of its strategic priorities, TI works on the promotion of social accountability to counter corruption. This consists of working on a number of thematic areas including land corruption.

Around the world, one in five people report that they have paid a bribe for land services during the last years; in Africa, every second client of land administration services was affected (Global Corruption Barometer, TI 2013). At the same time, land developers and speculators specifically target countries with weak governance (Poor Governance, Good Business, Oxfam, 2013), and together with local elites they can contribute to illicit and corrupt land transactions and increasing state capture (Corruption and Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, Global Witness, 2012). This marginalizes local populations further and consequently results in poverty, hunger, and conflict (Corruption in the Land Sector, TI with FAO, Working Paper #04/2011).

Since 2015, TI has been implementing a programme that addresses land related corruption mainly in Africa. TI’s Land and Corruption in Africa Programme is guided by the vision of guaranteeing the maintenance and development of land and tenure-based prosperity for men and women of all generations equally, respecting the dimensions of stewardship and socio-cultural relationships to land, and taking into consideration the special needs and rights of ethnic minorities, for sustainable and inclusive development and growth. The Programme’s overall goal is to contribute to improved livelihoods of men and women adversely affected by corrupt practices in land administration and in land deals, through enhanced security of tenure and equitable and fair access to land. Currently, ten TI National Chapters in Africa participate in the programme, while the TI Secretariat holds a coordinating role.

In the framework of the programme, TI wants to find out what incentivizes the private sector not to engage in corruption when investing in large-scale land based agricultural production projects in Africa.

Identifying concrete corruption risks as well as good practice responses that can prevent corruption and counteract the corruption risks in LSLBI will allow TI, other civil society actors, policy and decision makers in the public and the private sectors, as well as international donors to advocate for ending this corruption, and to take concrete measures to prevent it.

It is assumed that corruption in local land administration and at grand level between investors and local elites favors “land grabs” and state capture and marginalizes local populations. In addition, it is assumed that a lack of dependable information on land tenure rights and the limited comprehension of just procedures accessible to the private sector backs corrupt practices and undermines incentives for business integrity, corporate social accountability, fair public-private-partnerships, and alternative business models. 

Although international frameworks like the VGGTs, RAI, and the AU Guidelines on large scale land based investments (LSLBI: land allocations ≥ 200 hectares) call for counteracting land corruption, only little understanding exists of corruption risks in LSLBI and how these corruption risks relate to land administration and traditional authorities. Moreover, an overview of existing anti-corruption mechanisms in investment chains in relation to LSLBI, of their application and efficiency is missing.

Focusing on Africa, Transparency International therefore means to undertake research that will result in a resource that contributes to an awareness of corruption risks in LSLBI and of possibilities to counteract and avoid them.

To this effect, the Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S) in Berlin is seeking an experienced consultant / group of consultants to research corruption risks in LSLBI in Africa, as well as existing mechanisms and good practice responses that help to avoid it. A fundamental part of the research will be to identify what incentivizes the private sector to avoid engaging in land corruption. The findings and recommendations derived from this empirical and desk-based research will be consolidated and published in a substantial report and shared at conferences, online, and in direct interactions with the target audiences, which are civil society practitioners, public and private sectors, international finance institutes, and the donor community.


Research objectives:

The main goal of the research is to provide ideas and recommendations to the private sector on how to avoid land corruption, and to donors on supporting mechanisms that avoid land corruption.

To this effect, the research will:

Research Methodology:

The research will be partly desk-based and partly empirical with travel to two selected countries in Africa to lead interviews with different stakeholder groups and resource persons. The researcher will need to identify relevant data sources and literature, as well as interview partners (with guidance from TI). A few case studies are envisaged, focusing on either selected industries or companies. The researcher will be expected to validate findings with key stakeholders (TI, interview partners, and selected community groups). The methodology will be designed in close collaboration with TI.

The research should follow a phased approach:


The expected deliverables are set out below:

All presentations and reports are to be submitted in English, in electronic form, in accordance with the deadlines stipulated above. The Consultant is responsible for editing and quality control of language. The TI Secretariat retains the sole rights with respect to all distribution, dissemination and publication of the deliverables.


The Consultant should have the following qualifications:


The Consultant should provide a detailed breakdown, before any VAT or other charges, of all their estimated costs, including but not limited to; total fee as a lump sum or standard daily or hourly rates, (if applicable) international travel, local transport, accommodation, work materials.

Transparency International e.V. (Secretariat), (TI-S) is registered as a Business Entity in Germany with VAT identification number DE273612486. In order to determine the Value Added Tax (VAT) implications of this tender, we kindly request that the Consultants fill out the VAT Form for Tenders/Vendor Form (instructions inside the form) and submit the completed and duly signed form along with their email application.

The link to the VAT Form for Tenders/Vendor Form is available below.


The application should include the following documents in English:

Please indicate “Researcher Land Corruption” in the subject line of your email application. Applications should be sent in English by email to Annette Jaitner at ajaitner@transparency.org by close of business of 18/06/2018.

Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

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