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Experts urge pro-poor policies, equal access on land governance

By Victor Gbonegun
03 November 2021   |   3:34 am
Experts have urged African leaders to develop pro-poor land policies and inclusive land tenure rights, particularly for women and youths.

Experts have urged African leaders to develop pro-poor land policies and inclusive land tenure rights, particularly for women and youths.

They spoke at the 2021 conference on “Land Governance for Safeguarding Art, Culture and Heritage Towards the Africa We Want” held virtually yesterday.

Leading the call, Permanent Secretary at the Rwandan Ministry of Environment, Patrick Karera, who represented the Environment Minister, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, harped on commitment at the country and regional levels to ensure equity.

He told delegates at the hybrid event that anything related to land needs strong political will, people buy-in, and close collaboration.”

He lamented that negative effects of climate change raised the risk of deforestation and land degradation and called for innovative ways in the implementation of land reforms and services.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy of the African Union Commission, Josefa Sacko, said: “Land remains a very emotive issue in Africa and continues to have major historical significance for the people. It lies at the centre of their agriculture activities, natural resources and other land-based activities that are fundamental to their livelihoods as well as ensuring food security for future generations.”

Speaking through a representative, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford, made a strong argument for equitable access, use and ownership by all community members, particularly women and the youths.

Represented by Country Manager for Rwanda, Aissa Sarr Toure, Dunford said: “Land is a key input to food production and a major source of capital for the poor.”

On her part, the Director, Sub-Regional Office for East Africa at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mama Keita, stressed the need to make technical land reform information more accessible.

She said: “Land governance information can be rendered in music, film, visual arts, short stories and animation, and presented in different African languages for better reach. Traditional institutions and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are being utilised, alongside statutory law, to address disputes. But more still needs to be done.”

The African Land Policy Centre, a collaborative project of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank, hosts the Conference on Land Policy in Africa every two years. The forum brings together African policy-makers, academics, civil society leaders, and the private sector and international agencies to discuss the future of land policy in Africa.