The University of Dschang in Cameroon, through its Vice-Rector, Prof. Nyoja Jean has expressed the University’s willingness in future collaborations with the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA), especially on research projects as related to IDP’s security and land rights in western Cameroon and the collection of land and topographical data.
Prof. Nyoja expressed this during an advocacy meeting on August 17, 2020, with members of the NELGA team, lead by Prof. Leka Amand and Rosette Mbenda, NELGA Regional Advisor for Central Africa, to explore opportunities with the school administrative authorities for future partnership between the institution and NELGA. NELGA intends to expand its current collaborative partners with universities in Cameroon and used the advocacy visit to showcase the impact of NELGA on land governance academic studies and higher institutions in Africa.
The NELGA project in Central Africa, with Prof. Paul Tchawa as Regional Coordinator, officially launched in January 2019 in Yaounde, Cameroon, with the University of Yaounde I serving as the project’s regional node. The University of Yaounde is the only current partner institution in the country. In 2020, it became imperative to expand the reach of land governance academic opportunities and expertise in the country. This necessitated the advocacy visit to the University of Dschang to involve more public higher education and research institutions.
“It was imperative to showcase the impact of NELGA to academic authorities at the University of Dschang and the opportunities that come with NELGA to tackle land issues and land governance for the region and the continent,” explained Rosette Mbenda, NELGA Regional Advisor at the meeting. “The land crisis is a big problem in the continent, hence the adoption of the African Union Framework and Land Policy Directives in Africa validated by different African heads of state as a lever for sustainable development through which NELGA came to fruition.”
During the advocacy visit, the team met with the Secretary-General of the University, , the Dean of FLSH, , Vice-Dean Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, , Head of The Department of Philo-socio-psychology, Dean of Faculty of agronomic sciences ( FASA)and others.
According to Rosette Mbenda, “We are currently working on the second phase of the NELGA project in Central Africa. We hope that by partnering with the University of Dschang and expanding the number of higher institutions and research organizations in the region, we can increase our voices and footprint to ensure land governance research work supports appropriate data for policy making and good governance.”
Currently, the member countries of the network in Central Africa are in the current state. In addition to Cameroon are Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad. Actions are considered to integrate Equatorial Guinea into the sheet holder of NELGA Central Africa.