Sam Moyo
Sam Moyo.jpg
BornSamson Moyo
(1954-09-23)September 23, 1954
DiedNovember 21, 2015(2015-11-21) (aged 61)
Jawaharlal, India
Cause of deathMotor Vehicle Accident
EducationPh.D. in Rural Development and Environmental Management,
University of Northumbria, United Kingdom
Spouse(s)Dede Amanor-Wilks (1992 - 2000s)
ChildrenQondisile Moyo

Professor Sam Moyo was an academic and political economist. He is mostly know for his work on Land Reform in Africa and particularly Zimbabwe's `late 90s to early 2000s land reform program. He was the founder of the 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.


Moyo studied in Sierra Leone and later taught in Nigeria during the Rhodesia era.[1]


During the early 1990s, Sam gave considerable support to the newly established Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC). He worked closely with IBDC leaders such as Chemist Siziba, John Mapondera and also initially Strive Masiyiwa, who left the IBDC to set up his private enterprise, Econet Wireless.[1]

CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa

Moyo served as the President (2009-2011), Vice President (1998-2002) and Executive Committee Member (1995-1997) of CODESRIA, which is an apex Pan-African council which promotes social science research, provides grants and is a publisher in Africa.

African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS)

Moyo was the founder member in 2002 and was its Executive Director up to the time of his death. The organisation was renamed, the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies in his honour.

Southern Africa Regional Institute for Policy Studies (SARIPS)

Between 1995 and 2001 he led the establishment and maintenance of a Regional Masters Degree in Policy Studies based in Harare, and was the Director of SARIPS (1998-2001). The SARIPS provided policy research and training services to high-level policy makers and managers in the SADC region and beyond, including publishing numerous policy monographs, books and journal articles on critical issues.

University of Zimbabwe/Institute of Development Studies

He was a founding research fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies between 1983 and 1986, and became the head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development from 1987 to 1995. He led numerous policy research teams which undertook primary and secondary research activities on various agrarian questions facing Zimbabwe.

Government of Zimbabwe

Prof Moyo was head of the Land Reform of the Government of Zimbabwe’s Technical Advisory Team (TAT) from 1998 to 1999.

ZERO: A Regional environmental organisation

He was a founder member of ZERO (SADC region NGO) and was its Executive Secretary from 1986 to 1999 and Chairman from 2000 to 2011. This NGO was responsible for building networks of policy researchers and experts involved in rural energy and environmental policy issues in the SADC region, and advised Ministers and managers of relevant SADC organs on related issues.

Work on the Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe

Sam defended the idea that land reform was a necessary condition for Zimbabwe’s development beyond what had been achieved in the decade following independence in 1980. With Paris Yeros in 2005 he made the case that land reform was resulting in structural and rural transformation. His work however did not gain much widespread acceptance until Ian Scoones published research drawing similar conclusions.[1] Scoones conclusions were widely quoted and celebrated in a New York Times in 2012 while Prof Moyo received wide criticism for the same views. [2]

After setting up the African Institute of Agrarian Studies (AIAS) in the early 2000s, Sam broadened the focus of his work from Southern Africa to a more Pan-African outlook. Around the same time he deepened his engagement with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), as vice president and subsequently president. Sam’s work on the land question gradually became more directed to the Global South as he began working closely from the mid-2000s with Brazilian scholar Paris Yeros. This work culminated with the launch of the Agrarian South network and journal.

Sam Moyo


  • Reclaiming the Land: The Resurgence of Rural Movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. London, Zed Books, 2005.
  • Land in the Political economy of African Development: Alternative Strategies for Reform. Africa Development, Vol. XXXII, No. 4, 2007
  • Land and Sustainable Development in Africa. New York, Zed books. Amanor, K; and S. Moyo (2008) (eds).
  • The Land Questions, the State and Agrarian Transition: Contradictions of Neoliberal Reforms. Codesria, Green Book 2008.
  • The Agrarian question and developmental state in southern Africa, Omano Edigheji (ed) Constructing a Democratic Developmental State in South Africa: Potentials and Challenges. HSRC Press 2010.
  • Reclaiming the Nation: The Return of the National Question in Africa, Asia and Latin PlutoPress 2011. Moyo, S. and Yeros, P. (eds)
  • Three decades of agrarian reform in Zimbabwe: redistributive outcome? Journal of Peasant Studies. Vol. 38, No. 3, July 2011, 493–531.
  • Changing agrarian relations after redistributive land reform in Zimbabwe. Journal of Peasant Studies. Vol. 38, No. 5, 2011, 907–934.
  • Land Concentration and accumulation by Dispossession: Redistributive Reform in Post settler Zimbabwe. Review of African Political Economy Vol. 38, No. 128, June 2011, 257–276.
  • Imperialism and Primitive Accumulation: Notes on the New Scramble for Africa. Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy. Vol 1. No. 2 pp 181-204. Moyo, S; Praveen Jha & Paris Yeros (2012)
  • The Classical Question in Agrarian Question: Myth, Reality and Relevance Today. Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy. Vol 2. No. 1 pp 93-119 (SAGE). Moyo, S; P, Jha., and P, Yeros (2013)
  • CODESRIA Multi-National Working Group Book on Land Question. CODESRIA, Dakar. Moyo, S. Tsikata, D and Diop, Yakham (eds) (2013),
  • Land and Agrarian Reform in Zimbabwe: Beyond White-Settler Capitalism, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Dakar, 2013. Moyo, S and Chambati, W (eds).
Sam Moyo Interview

Personal Life

Sam Moyo was in committed relationship with human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dede Amanor-Wilks, Memories of Sam Moyo: One-year tribute, Pambazuka News, Published:24 Nov 2016, Retrieved: 27 Nov 2018.
  2. Masego Madzwamuse, A sip, a laugh, a legacy: Prof Sam Moyo, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Published:23 November 2015, Retrieved: 27 Nov 2018
  3. Hopewell Chin'ono, Beatrice Mtetwa And the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe,Facebook Video, Retrieved: 21 January 2019