Studies and evaluations that guide the African Union’s (AU)land intervention and policy have shown that African universities’ training and education in the specific area of land governance are often ‘imported’, thereby producing land professionals who are not equipped to meet Africa’s realities. Curriculums also tend to be too technical and have flaws in the social, cultural, political, economic and environmental aspects essential to the continent’s land governance and administration systems. To address the above, the AU developed the Guidelines for Curricula Development on Land Governance tailored to meet the continent’s realities.
NELGA Francophone West Africa node hosted by the University of Gaston Berger node organized a sensitization workshop on the Guidelines for Curricula Development on Land Governance in Africa from the 14th to 15th of April 2021 for university representatives and land governance academic and research stakeholders located in Francophone West Africa. The workshop which was held virtually provided the opportunity to clarify how the revision of land education programs can be made in line with the AU guidelines while remaining firmly entrenched in the West African context. The sensitization was necessary due to the limited attention given to land education in Francophone West Africa and the gap between education and the labour market and policy-making needs in most countries.
The meeting that UNECA’s Africa Land Policy Center coordinated with support from GIZ focused on creating a collective understanding of the guidelines and how this can be mainstreamed within current education programs or creating standalone academic programs. Land experts, specialists, policymakers, researchers from Senegal, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Togo, Mauritania, Congo, and Madagascar, attended this event. The two days’ workshop enclosed presentations and discussions on topics like Evolution of Land Governance in Africa, The Land Governance Industry, Land Governance in Rural, Urban and Peri-urban Areas, Gender, Women and Land, Environment, Climate Change and Land, Conflicts and Land Governance as well as Research and innovation.
Discussions at the meeting explained that the current education on land Governance in Africa is influenced by the outside world and is not reflective of our reality with influences from the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial perspectives. The current situations are important reminders of the need to develop realistic land governance curricula which takes the best of the past and the present to bridge capacity gaps that will create the Africa we want in the land governance space. The guidelines are supposed to help shape our curriculum in a way that recognizes our historical context.
African universities play a key role in assisting the Member States in implementing the AU Agenda on Land and forming tailor-made land governance policies in Africa’s context. Participants discussed the African Union’s vision for revising land curricula with reflections from participants on their common understanding of the content of the framework of the guidelines. The meeting ended with an agreement to discuss how this can be applied and tailored to university specifications, and the respective country needs moving forward. They stressed how the workshop was necessary to expand their knowledge and grasp the tools and methodology that assist universities in reviewing land training programs.