Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, November 25, 2019 (ECA) - The 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa opened Monday, with resounding calls for effective land governance as critical to fighting corruption achieving Africa’s continental vision elaborated in Agenda 2063. The theme of the third biannual conference has as its central focus, “Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation”.
In remarks to the 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA2019), Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division at the Economic Commission for Africa said, “Success in achieving the sustainable development goals is underpinned by good land governance, as it contributes to eliminating poverty and hunger; promoting sustainable agriculture; advancing gender equality and women empowerment; and promoting inclusive economic growth; among other development objectives.”
He however, underlined that legal uncertainty not only undermined business confidence, but could foster corruption. He also stressed that undeveloped systems with complex and unclear administrative processes contribute to the lack of transparency and accountability in the administration of land.
These conditions, said Karingi, increase the likelihood of corruption. In the land sector, it has far-reaching implications for Africa’s development.
For her part, Ambassador Josefa Sacko, the African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture said, “For us to win the fight against corruption we need to ensure that land is equitably distributed and accessed by all, more especially women, youths and other vulnerable groups. Women continue to contribute significantly towards agricultural production in Africa but in some circumstances are not able to enjoy their rights to land. It is therefore a reality that women and men still do not enjoy the same rights over land.”
“As a factor of production most livelihoods and developmental activities are undertaken on land; we need to ensure that the way in which land is distributed and used plays an essential role in promoting sustainable development and achieving peace and stability on the continent,” she said.
The African Development Bank’s Senior Vice President, Charles Boamah, for his part, said sound land policy was critical to economic growth, food security, and poverty alleviation across the continent.
“It can catalyse growth in agricultural productivity through tenure security and protection of land rights, which can in turn enhance investment opportunities in land,” he said, adding land administration systems in many countries on the continent were characterised by poor infrastructure and management practices largely because of corruption.
“Corruption is truly costly in every sense of the word. And it hits the poorest the hardest, particularly women and as a result, we perpetuate income and gender inequality.”
The Conference is hosted by the African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa. Attending are hundreds of government officials, traditional leaders, land experts, academics, representatives from civil society, UN agencies and partner organisations.
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