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Lessons on land reform from the East Asian tigers

African countries will do well to learn from the successful land reform of the East Asian tigers, which were specifically aimed at boosting entrepreneurship, industrialisation and broad-based empowerment, as inspiration.

East Asian developmental states implemented their land reforms more honestly, more meritocratic and linked it to their country’s long-term industrialisation. The land reform was also aimed at breaking ancient feudal social, income and power inequalities, between landowners, feudal lords and traditional authorities, and ordinary rural dwellers.

In the 1950s, Taiwan introduced what it called its “Land to the Tiller” land reforms. The land reforms were done under the slogan “use agriculture to cultivate industry”. The reform unleashed Taiwan’s great industrial development, distributing new assets and wealth to millions more equitably.

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