Land matters crucial to Africa, says expert

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Land policies and governance came under focus as an expert in land matters in Africa, Prof. Kimani Njogu, highlighted its importance.

Njogu, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday at African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of Media Master Class.

The Master Class is a precursor to the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), starting on Tuesday to end on Friday.

Other speakers at the session included Dr Joan Kagwanja, who also spoke on land issues in Africa, as well as Ms Eileen Wakesho and Mr Tsotetsi Makong.

The conference, organised by African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) has the theme: “Promoting Sustainable Land Governance in Africa for Accelerated Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”.

Prof. Kimani Njogu

Njogu, a Consultant on Land Matters, said when dealing with issues of land governance, “we are dealing with a question of who gets to make the decisions on who accesses land.

“Who owns land as well as the processes that will be undertaken in making those decisions.

“Now across Africa we have a huge problem of people’s access to land.

“So, for example, we have tensions between herders and farmers, tension between urbanisation, farming and agriculture, tensions between indigenous communities and new communities that get into the land and so on.”

Njogu explained that the situation called for decisions and those decisions were usually political decisions which had economic and social implications.

“Therefore, it is in that context that we say in Africa, we must pay particular attention to land policy as well as land governance because it is also about issues of power.

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“Who controls power in terms of decision making.

“For instance, do the youth in Africa have access to land. Can they own land and under what circumstances can they own land?

“If its women, do they own land and how can they access it? How can we industrialise while at the same time not displace indigenous communities.

“How can we accelerate tourism and extract our natural resources without damaging people’s lives?

“So, its really about decision making and that’s an important thing for us to be paying attention to,” he said.

NAN also reports that the conference is aimed at exploring the intersection between land governance policies and trade in Africa within the context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Master Class provided valuable insights into land governance for accelerating the implementation of the AfCFTA, as well as other key topics such as women’s land rights, inclusive trade and food security.

Meanwhile, the conference has established itself as the continent’s premier land forum, facilitating the exchange of research activities, experiences and learnings on emerging land issues.

The 2023 conference also aimed at deepening the capacity for land policy and implementation in Africa by fostering improved access to knowledge, networks and innovation.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi

 

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