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Key Profile Area: Global South Studies

Prof. Emmanuel Sulle

Member of the Global Faculty

Assistant Professor and Director of Aga Khan University’s (AKU) Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre, in Tanzania


Emmanuel Sulle is well-known as a leading scholar on agrarian studies in Africa, a contributor to the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa. He holds a PhD in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa and Master’s degree in Public Policy majoring in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland, United States. Sulle has won various awards for his academic excellence including Harvard University Doctoral Student Fellowship and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Doctoral Grant. He currently holds a visiting scientist grant from Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Prior to joining AKU Sulle worked at PLAAS (UWC), where he researched and completed his PhD. His dissertation explored viable agricultural business models, land tenure and rural livelihoods. His research sought to influence institutional frameworks for different undertakings in different contexts and economic sectors, and create inclusive business models that fairly redistribute benefits, costs and risks to enable sustainable development.

At PLAAS, Sulle led diverse groups of researchers on numerous complex studies in over seven countries in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern Africa. These include large projects on women’s land rights with field research teams in seven countries and development corridors in four countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. These multi-country and multi-disciplinary research experiences have helped him develop considerable leadership skills in managing research projects in different contexts and diverse groups. Sulle’s research has been published in high impact journals such as the Journals of Peasant Studies, Environment and Development and Southern African Studies. His current research interests include climate change, sustainable agriculture and food systems, policy analysis, green economy, biodiversity and community-led conservation and tourism, land tenure and agrarian transformation in Africa.

Representative publications

  • Sulle, E. and Mbunda, R. (2024). People, Livelihoods and Contested Meanings of Land in Tanzania in Wolford, W. Peluso, N. Goldman, M. The Social Life of Land. Cornell University Press Series ‘On Land: New Perspectives on Development, Environment and Territory. Ithaca. Cornell University Press.
  • Sulle, E. (2021). Outgrowing and the politics of inclusive business models: The case of Tanzania’s Kilombero Sugar Company. Asian Journal of African Studies. Vol. 50 February 2021. 
  • Sulle, E. (2020). Bureaucrats, investors and smallholders: contesting land rights and agro-commercialisation in the Southern agricultural growth corridor of Tanzania. Journal of East African Studies, 14(2): 332-353
  • Sulle, E. and Dancer, H. (2019). “Gender, politics and sugarcane commercialisation in Tanzania”, Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (5), pp. 973-992. doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2019.1632294
  • Sulle, E. and Banka, H. (2017). “Tourism taxation, politics and territorialisation in Tanzania’s Wildlife Management”, Conservation and Society 15 (4), pp. 465-473. www.jstor.org/stable/26393315
  • Sulle, E. (2017). “Social differentiation and the politics of land: Sugarcane outgrowing in Kilombero, Tanzania”, Journal of Southern African Studies 43 (3), pp. 517-533. doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2016.1215171