Recognizing the importance of land to Africa’s development and the need to improve synergies among actors involved in supporting land policy development and implementation, the African Union Commission (AUC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) established the Land Policy (LPI) in 2006. From 2006-2009, the LPI was successful in generating knowledge, promoting dialogue and building consensus towards the development of a Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) endorsed by an AU Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Land and Agriculture in April 2009 as a viable tool for land policy development, implementation and monitoring in Africa. And, in a Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa, the AU Heads of State and Government in July 2009 committed to providing leadership and allocating adequate resources for the application of the F&G to improve land governance, so that it can play its rightful role in transforming Africa’s economies.
Unfortunately, private sector involvement is often discouraged by the high transaction costs involved in acquiring land and securing land rights, both of which constitute necessary prerequisites to bringing land under production and, especially, increasing its productivity. Insecure land rights discourage investments in technology and other innovations needed for increasing productivity and enhancing value chain development for land-based products, including value-adding processing which is critical to increasing competitiveness, industrial growth, diversification and trade.
In a renewed mandate to implement the AU Declaration on Land, the LPI Secretariat, which is located in ECA, is coordinating efforts towards the implementation a five year Strategic Plan with the following key objectives: advocacy for inclusion of land in the African development agenda, strategies and programmes; raising awareness of land related issues and challenges that hamper the appropriate utilization of land towards Africa’s development; building synergies, partnerships and resource mobilization; facilitating capacity development and technical assistance at all levels; promoting knowledge generation, lesson sharing and networking; and promoting monitoring and evaluation of land policy development and implementation.
Some of the key thematic areas of focus for the LPI, informed by rigorous regional consultations, the F&G and AU Declaration on Land include: Land issues in agriculture, including land governance in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAAD) and large scale land based investments as guided by a Nairobi Action Plan on Large Scale Land Based Investments (October 2011); Land and Africa’s regional integration and cooperation; Land and urban development; Land, environment and climate change; Land, governance and Conflict; and Women land rights.
The LPI Secretariat continues to receive strategic guidance from an LPI Steering Committee comprised of members from AUC, ECA, AfDB, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Pan African Parliament (PAP) and the Pan Africa Farmers Organisation (PAFO); as well as observer members who comprise development partners, at present constituting: the European Union Delegation to the AU (EUD), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the UN-Habitat. The Committee meets twice a year to provide guidance on- and review progress made in implementing the LPI Work Plan. A Technical Advisory Group provides technical guidance and advice to the LPI Secretariat.
A peaceful and prosperous Africa realized through equitable access, efficient and sustainable utilization of land.
To ensure all land users have equitable access to land and security of all bundles of land rights, by facilitating effective partnerships, dialogue and capacity building for participatory and consultative land policy formulation and implementation, as well as efficient and transparent land administration in both customary and statutory jurisdictions.
To assist Member States in the implementation of the declaration on land issues and challenges in Africa in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on land policy in Africa in order to achieve socio-economic development, peace and security, and environmental sustainability.
Current targets of the initiative include:
- Twenty Member States developing land policies and adopting implementation tools that enhance women’s secure access to land; and recognize the legitimacy of Africa’s customary based land rights and institutions by 2020
- Ten Member States putting in place transparent, efficient and cost-effective Land administration systems which are reflective of Africa’s unique realities by 2020
- Elements of a 5-year LPI Strategic Plan and Roadmap (2012-2016)
- Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa
- Nairobi Action Plan on Large Scale Land-Based Investments in Africa
- ADF VIII - Land and Africa’s Development Future: Governing the Risks and Opportunities of Large-scale Landbased Investments
- Consultative Workshops on Land Policy in Africa: Key Messages and Recommendations