Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 21 September 2020 – In their quest to help strengthen Africa’s weak land governance and insecure land rights issues which remain major development challenges for the continent, technical experts met in a virtual meeting to discuss these concerns and plan ahead on what is needed to achieve the African Union’s agenda on land.
The meeting was held under the coordination of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC), formerly the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), and brought together experts from the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) and its regional and technical nodes.
They reviewed progress made regarding 2020 work plans; appraised the NELGA secretariat work plan for 2020-2021 and encouraged coordinated efforts to meet the African Union agenda on land.
The ALPC has been mandated to spearhead the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda on Land that aims at improving land policy across the continent.
Although a growing number of countries show political will to realize these initiatives, their implementation at country level remains at an early stage. Many countries lack the human and institutional capacity required to implement sustainable land policies. One of the main reasons for this lack is the insufficient quality of academic programmes at African universities and institutions of higher learning.
The technical planning meeting is part of the continental initiative comprising ALPC, NELGA, and GIZ, and includes land governance technical experts, academics and government stakeholders, tasked to provide academic support and oversight, research, data, reports and policy recommendations to influence sound land governance and reforms in Africa.
The meeting was opened by the Chief of the African Land Policy Centre, Ms.Joan Kagwanja, and she co-chaired the meeting with the GIZ’s Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance, Head of Program, Ms. Anita Hernig.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Kagwanja stated, "The planning meeting provides additional insight and information which helps NELGA secretariat and ALPC develop actions to advance practical steps towards moving the dial on policy changes in land administration in Africa. Ultimately it needs to get there. Besides the usual focused discussions on what we have done in the different areas of land governance work and exchanges, I am looking forward to building more synergy to meet set goals."
The meeting celebrated the successful establishment of the NELGA secretariat and the onboarding of its multi-nationality pioneer staff recruited in the midst of the crippling COVID-19 crisis.
"It is expected that with the full recruitment of the secretariat team, this will enhance communication, coordination, and collaboration within the network at the continental level," Ms. Kagwanja said.
The NELGA secretariat will improve coordination, knowledge generation and dissemination of the network’s activities jointly with NELGA institutions across the continent through its regional nodes. These activities include training for NELGA students, implementation of the NELGA scholarship programme, advocating and facilitating delivery of trainings for scholars and policy makers in the region; and work with the RECs and other regional/national stakeholders to generate data. Working through the regional nodes, the secretariat will coordinate regional activities involving NELGA member institutions, linking them to other NELGA regional networks for joint activities, knowledge sharing and partnership building.
The meeting provided an opportunity for NELGA to showcase the network’s results through collaborative research, scholarship programs and knowledge exchange; reviewed the comprehensive and harmonized workplans, introduced new partnerships, opportunities and sustainability strategies to meeting the AU's commitment to improving land policies in Africa for 2020-2021.
Participants applauded the network for introducing innovative methods through digital platforms to foster e-learning on land governance in response to COVID-19.
Regional stakeholders from Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Germany were among the participants to the virtual meeting.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), formerly called the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) , and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its purpose is to enable the use of land to lend impetus to the process of African development. The programme is governed by a Steering Committee that meets periodically, while a joint secretariat implements day to day activities.
To strengthen human and institutional capacities for implementing the AU agenda on land, ALPC established the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). NELGA is a partnership of leading African universities and research institutions with proven leadership in education, training, and research on land governance. Currently, NELGA has more than 50 partner institutions across Africa. NELGA aims to: enhance training opportunities and curricula on land governance in Africa; promote demand driven research on land policy issues; connect scholars and researchers across Africa through academic networks; and create data and information for monitoring and evaluation on land policy reforms.
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