The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) and its regional and technical nodes held its bi-annual technical planning meeting virtually on Tuesday, 30th of March 2021, under the African Land Policy’s Center (ALPC) coordination. The meeting includes land governance technical experts, academics, and government stakeholders tasked with providing academic support, bridging capacity gaps, oversight of research data and reports, and policy recommendations to influence Africa’s land governance reforms. Stakeholders look at the experience of the past months of working together, identify lessons learned, and tag areas for strategic intervention towards meeting the AU land agenda towards 2063.
The recent planning meeting brought together diverse stakeholder from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Université Gaston Berger (UGB), Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences (IAV), ARDHI University and University of Yaoundé I.
The meeting reviewed 2021 Work Plans and discussed areas for synergy, amplification, dialogue, and intervention, especially as the continent tackles the Covid19 pandemic. Dr. Joan Kagwanja, Chief of the African Land Policy Centre and chair of the technical meeting, said, “I am grateful for all the achievements we have made so far in such a difficult year. So much work has been done despite all difficulties the pandemic has brought to our table. It is great to see our advisors, coordinators, and other stakeholders making headways and moving the dial on the continent’s land governance landscape. We may be a young network; however, this platform provides areas of synergy and cooperation towards reaching our goals while celebrating our intermediate achievements.”
Participants shared and spoke to the outcome of activities from research, training, and capacity building while documenting logical next steps towards bridging capacity gaps and strengthening the land governance space with data and empirical research findings for policy recommendations; To engage in the various platforms and enhance linkages with different stakeholders for NELGA to grow as a continental program. “We should continue contributing to the policy development processes in the different regions. And as a network, we can do a lot more. We should keep examining whether the indicators we have put for ourselves are helping us to measure how much we have achieved in terms of the gaps.” Said Dr. Kagwanja as a reminder to continue the hard work. Some areas of work identified include introducing e-learning platforms, policy recommendations in the various national agriculture investment plans, developing road maps, institutionalizing new land governance academic programs, publishing new research findings, insight on DAAD/NELGA scholarships, reviewing land legal frameworks, and impacting women’s rights, youth, and climate change, among others.
Following the presentation made by the secretariat, the stakeholders appreciated how far NELGA came in the knowledge management and dissemination as well as the communications area. They assured to contribute their part into achieving what is planned for the year 2021. Prof. Paul Tchawa, coordinator for the Central Africa Node, in appreciation, said, “We truly see areas of improvement in our journey as NELGA as we share common contribution and attribution in the evolving land governance space. Together, we can ensure we continue to build on our work for our continent, our economy, and our future.” He stated that he believes in working together as it makes it even more possible to achieve the AU Agenda on Land.