The Guidelines for the Development of Curricula on Land Governance in Africa support the implementation of the AU Declaration on land issues and Challenges in Africa, in particular the call for Member States to, “Build adequate human, financial, technical capacities to support land policy development and implementation”.
The guidelines are informed by key background documents prepared by the LPI, including the Regional assessment reports on land policy in Africa which identified, among other things, the challenges in Africa’s land sector; The background document on capacity development in Africa prepared from an examination of key capacity gaps in the land sector; Assessment report on industry needs and gaps in curricula for land governance in Africa. The Curricula also tends to be technical, lacking in the social/cultural, political, economic and environmental aspects crucial to land governance.
Further challenges on capacity in Africa include limited focus on Land tenure, political economy of land, autochthonous populations’ ties to land and cultural/traditional land governance.
NELGA will participate in the Second Arab Land Conference held from 22nd to 24th of February 2021 in Cairo, Egypt. The conference marks an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing good land governance in the Arab region. It will promote good land management and land administration by focusing on the priorities of the Arab Land Initiative: promote collaboration and coordination, develop and share knowledge, develop capacities of individuals and organizations, and support the implementation of land-related programs and interventions.
NELGA will present two sessions at the event, a roundtable discussion titled “Land and Tenure Systems in North Africa: A Scoping Study” and a masterclass tagged “Capacity Development to Enable Good Land Governance.”
Both sessions will come up on the 24th of February, 2021. These sessions focus on developing programs that meet the Government’s and professionals’ needs in the capacity building required for sustainable development. The challenges for capacity development and ongoing initiatives, and future opportunities will also be presented.
More information on this activity will be released as the conference dates draw near.
The NELGA project was officially launched in Central Africa on the 17th and 18th of January 2019 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The first phase of the project lasted 18 months under the terms of the agreement signed between the University of Yaoundé I (as the regional node of the project) and GIZ. With GIZ planning to continue supporting this initiative, the execution of a second phase of the project is underway. Following this, the need to get more higher education institutions in Central Africa involved in the project was considered crucial. It is with this intention that NELGA organized missions to explore the possibilities of collaborations with new universities and other prospective partners both in Cameroon and other NELGA member countries in Central Africa.
The NELGA coordination team with the support of the GIZ Technical Advisor to NELGA are carrying out these missions in Cameroon. On the other hand, in countries like Chad, Gabon, CAR and DRC, the NELGA focal points will provide the lead in the consultation processes. By the end of these assignments, new universities, research institutions and other active actors working in land related sectors will be included in phase 2 of the project.
The mission to the university of Ngaoundéré in Cameroon is one of the missions that intended to explore and reflect on future collaborations between the university and the NELGA project. It had main objectives of presenting the project to the academic authorities of the University, highlighting its approach to land governance, illustrating its fields of action as well as the results of the first phase. It also focused on discussing the likely co-preparation and follow-up processes of involving the university in the second phase. Similarly, the mission intended to present various support opportunities available within the NELGA network and its partners to students currently working on land issues.
The NELGA team with the services of Professor TCHOTSOUA Michel met the Rector of the University of Ngaoundéré and presented the purpose of the mission. The Rector was certainly positive to the idea of integrating the University of Ngaoundéré into the Network, on the understanding that the interest of the University in the issues of land use planning, management of natural resources and development in the broad sense of the term no longer needs to be compromised. She consequently appointed Professor TCHOTSOUA as NELGA Focal Point at the University of Ngaoundéré.
The team correspondingly met the deans and vice deans in charge of research as well as the heads of departments of the Faculties of Arts, Letters and Human Sciences, Faculties of Legal and Political Sciences, Faculties of Economics and Management. Except for the Faculty of Economics and Management that the theme is still new for, all the other faculties have courses on or related to the land tenure system in their curricula. All the Heads of Departments met expressed the desire to actively contribute to the activities of NELGA, particularly in the context of updating the curricula of the courses to align them with the directives of the African Union on land tenure in Africa. The sensitization tour ended successfully with the meeting with the Master and Doctorate students to whom offers of scholarships and mobility were presented.
An evidence-based policy helps to make well-informed decisions about policies, programs and projects, by placing the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation. This also accounts for policymaking in the land sector.
But how can we implement evidence-based policy in a sector where data is usually scarce or difficult to access? How can we respond with policies and programs to increasingly rapid global trends while still relying on robust science? And what is the key to good science communication, given that the validity of scientific facts is coming under increasing pressure worldwide? In this session, we would like to address these questions and focus on the relationship between good research and policymaking in the land sector and how good science communication can work.
To address these questions, SLGA and NELGA will host a panel discussion at GIZ LandHub 2020 meeting.
Date: December 15, 2020
Time: 13:00 – 14:30 (UTC+1)
Venue: Online meeting
Through a panel discussion covering different perspectives, we want to learn from the experiences of experts and conduct a reality check to see if we are on the right track and what else we need.
• Dr Insa Flachsbarth – GIGA Institute for Africa Affairs
• Laura Meggiolaro – Land Portal
• Dr Wael Zakout – World Bank
• Prof. Paul Tchawa – Secretary-General, Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Cameroon
The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt is pleased to announce the Second Arab Land Conference to be organized under the patronage of the Egyptian Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities. The Conference will be organized by the Housing and Building National Research Centre represented by the Urban Training and Studies Institute (UTI) in partnership with UN-Habitat, the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), the World Bank, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the Dubai Land Department.
The Conference will allow both in-person and virtual attendance and will take place on the 22, 23 and 24th February 2021 in Cairo, Egypt. The Conference marks an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing good land governance in the Arab region. The Conference will promote good land management and land administration by focusing on the priorities of the Arab Land Initiative: promote collaboration and coordination; develop and share knowledge; develop capacities of individuals and organizations; and support the implementation of land-related programmes and interventions.
The Conference will be a platform to discuss countries experiences, present new research, foster high-level support and ownership to tackle land governance and to empower and develop the capacities of the land stakeholders from the region. Experts and practitioners will have the opportunity to submit and present papers relevant to the eight topics of the conference:
Land management and administration: tools and practices
Land and property registration: modernization and reform
Land management in time of crisis: conflicts, climate change and epidemics
Access to land for women and vulnerable groups: successful practices and lessons learnt
Efficient land use: tools and practices
Technologies and smart solutions: enhancing land management, land development and construction
Private sector participation: policies and practices
Capacity development: successes and gaps
Partners will have the opportunity to organize masterclasses, side events and special sessions at the margins of the Conference.
From November 30 to December 18, 2020, Advancing Collaborative Research in Responsible and Smart Land Management in and for Africa (ADLAND), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and NELGA will host various events to bridge some gaps in land governance studies in Africa.
On November 30, ALDLAND, TUM, NELGA, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, will jointly review and revise the curricula for Ph.D. on Land Management and Governance. The team will revise the curriculum against ALPC requirements and other international standards and experiences. The revised curriculum will be forwarded for internal review. The remote meeting provides the opportunity to introduce adaptation measures and improvements in meeting the current land governance context and AU Agenda on Land.
Following this meeting, on December 18, working with the University of Zimbabwe, ADLAND will build NELGA members’ capacity, especially researchers and academics, on publishing and editing skills. The online seminar aims to support the University of Zimbabwe on the publication process of the book “Developing Sustainable and Smart Human Settlements: An African Context”.
The training will look at the tips and tricks on writing book chapters and scientific papers, editing, reviewing, dealing with reviewers, feedback on book structure, and costs and finances.
These meetings are restricted to NELGA member universities but interested parties can contact the following:
Online Seminar on Publishing and Editing
Dr. Charles Chavunduka
University of Zimbabwe
Department of Architecture and Real Estate
Remote Curricula Study
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Dschang, Cameroon, November 10, 2020: From November 10 – 13, 2020, land governance experts from various universities and research institutions in Central Africa will meet in Dschang, Cameroon, for a sensitization meeting on the review of existing land governance curricula by adopting the recommendations in the Guidelines for Curricula Development on Land Governance in Africa.
The meeting is convened by the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) in partnership with leading universities in Central Africa under the African Land Policy Center (ALPC) coordination with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) at the African Union. The Guidelines for the Development of Curricula on Land Governance in Africa were endorsed by the AU Conference of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment IN October 2017. The Guidelines support the implementation of the African Union (AU) Agenda on Land; and responds to the call for AU Member countries to bridge capacity gaps on land policy development and its implementation.
Given the shortfall in Africa’s land sector, particularly in terms of skills and expertise, African Union member states were asked to “develop adequate human, financial and technical capacities to support the development and implementation of land policy in Africa”. Universities and higher education institutions were then recommended to review existing curricula, research, and training to ensure that they are adequate to meet the industry’s needs. Significant gaps have been identified in the content and nature of African universities and other higher education institutions’ training and research programmes.
Speaking about the workshop, Dr. Joan Kagwanja, ALPC Chief, commented, “In producing the Guidelines, ALPC embarked on extensive consultation and documentation, informed by evidence and data processed by the Center through its rigorous regional assessment reports. The process identified capacity development gaps in land administration and curricula to advance land governance in Africa, which influenced the development of the Guidelines. The Guidelines aim to serve as a framework for the development and/or review of African universities’ academic curricula. These guidelines were presented to the relevant AU political body for approval and are now key tools for implementing the AU’s land agenda.
The sensitization workshop is part of the ongoing advocacy and consultation with academics for mainstreaming land governance capacity gaps across Africa. It is expected that participants will respond to the new proposals and ideas emerging from the Guidelines.”
Prof. Paul Tchawa, the NELGA Central Africa Node Coordinator, explained, “The main objective of this workshop is to raise awareness and equip the leaders of Cameroonian and Central Africa universities who want to engage in the review of their curricula to bring them to speed with the African Union’s guidelines in this area. We welcome the opportunity to close capacity gaps in the land governance curricula as it ensures that as academic institutions, we continue to meet our students’ needs and fulfill the African Union’s mandate.”
At the end of this workshop, participants from partner universities will be made aware of the guidelines for the revision of curricula on land governance in Africa and their contribution to implementing the land policy designed by the AU. They will also understand the procedures to be followed in the review of curricula and design an action plan for the review and design of curricula in their various universities.”
Commending the initiative, Professor Roger Tsafack Nanfosso, Rector of Dschang University, said, “Given the dense and diverse profiles of experts from diverse backgrounds at this workshop, there is no doubt that the workshop will lead to fruitful results and realistic recommendations that can redirect our training offerings towards specific development goals. The reconfiguration of land governance curricula is essential to make land a real lever for economic growth in our continent.”
Participating universities include Universite de Yaounde, Universite de Banqui, Universite Marien Ngouabi, Universite de N’Djamena, Universite Omar Bongo, and Universite de Kinshasha. Universities of Dschang, Douala, Yaounde,Cameroon, and Omar Bongo in Gabon have signified interest to begin revising the content of courses on land after the workshop.
Find below the report and presentations made at the workshop:
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.
In partnership with Nazi-Boni University, NELGA participates in a Curricula Review Workshop in Burkina Faso from November 3 to 6, 2020, intending to establish a master’s degree in land governance.
The workshop brings together experts and leading professors in the region to meet the African Union land agenda, which places research and the implementation of appropriate academic studies and training to bridge capacity gaps on land governance in African universities. NELGA’s participation is under the coordination of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC) with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) at the African Union.
Universite Gaston Berget in Senegal and Université des sciences juridiques et politiques in Mali held similar exercises with NELGA support. Nazi-Boni University hopes that at the end of the workshop, they will emerge with a training model on land tenure, taking into account the orientations and recommendations in the AU framework and guidelines on land tenure policies.
Du 10 au 13 novembre 2020, des experts en gouvernance foncière et des universitaires issus des principales universités et institutions académiques du Cameroun se réuniront dans la ville universitaire de Dschang pour examiner la nécessité de disposer des curricula actualisés sur la gouvernance foncière qui tienne compte du contexte africain et qui soit en étroite ligne avec les recommandations de l’Union Africaine en matière de gouvernance foncière.
La réunion est organisée par le Réseau d’excellence sur la gouvernance foncière en Afrique (NELGA), qui est coordonné par le Centre africain de politique foncière (ALPC) avec le soutien du ministère fédéral allemand de la coopération économique et du développement (BMZ) auprès de l’Union africaine, sur le thème “Lignes directrices pour l’élaboration des curricula sur la gouvernance foncière en Afrique”.
La réunion est la résultante de la volonté de universités partenaires à NELGA Afrique centrale d’obtenir un soutien et des conseils dans la révision et la conception des programmes d’études sur les questions de gouvernance foncière. Il est alors nécessaire de sensibiliser ces universités sur les directives conçues par l’Union Africaine en matière de révision des curricula afin d’aligner les programmes d’enseignement sur les politiques stratégiques de l’Union africaine.
L’Université de Yaoundé I via le réseau NELGA en étroite collaboration avec ses universités partenaires ont envisagé le présent atelier de sensibilisation/formation afin de doter les responsables universitaires d’Afrique centrale des outils et connaissances nécessaires à la révision de leurs programmes d’études sur le foncier tout en s’assurant de la conformité de ces programmes avec les lignes directrices de l’Union africaine.
La gouvernance foncière est associée à la gestion de plusieurs autres ressources connexes qui pourraient propulser la croissance économique, la prospérité et le développement durable à grande échelle, d’une part, et les activités culturelles, d’autre part. La terre joue également un rôle prédominant dans la cohésion sociale, la paix et la sécurité.
Compte tenu du déficit observé dans le secteur du foncier en Afrique, notamment en matière de compétences et d’expertise, les États membres de l’Union Africaine ont été invités à “développer des capacités humaines, financières et techniques adéquates pour soutenir l’élaboration et la mise en œuvre de la politique foncière en Afrique”. Il a alors été recommandé aux universités et établissements d’enseignement supérieur d’examiner les programmes d’études, de recherche et de formation existants afin de déterminer s’ils sont adéquats pour répondre aux besoins de l’industrie. Des lacunes importantes ont été identifiées dans le contenu et la nature des programmes de formation et de recherche proposés par les universités et autres établissements d’enseignement supérieur africains.
Face à ce constat, le Centre Africain sur les Politiques foncières (ALPC – African Land Policy Centre) a élaboré en partenariat avec un groupe d’experts et d’académiciens africains les « lignes directrices pour le développement de programmes d’études sur la gouvernance foncière en Afrique ». Ce document a pour objectif de servir de cadre pour le développement et/ou la revue des curricula académiques des universités Africaines. Ces lignes directrices ont été présentées à l’organe politique compétent de l’UA pour approbation et sont ensuite devenu l’un des outils clefs de la mise en œuvre de l’agenda de l’UA sur le foncier.
À la fin de l’atelier, les universités de Dschang, Douala, Yaoundé, Cameroun, Université de Bangui en RCA, l’Université de N’Djamena au Tchad et Omar Bongo au Gabon commenceront à réviser le contenu des cours sur le foncier.
Following the announcement of the initial confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa in March 2020, many countries integrated health and safety regulations aimed at preventing the further spread of the pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, NELGA institutions across Africa were faced with unprecedented challenges in the academic world: staff members and students suddenly had to do research and study from home.
NELGA institutions decided to turn this challenge into an opportunity and the networks excellence centres from Morocco to Namibia chose proactive approaches to deal with the global crisis. The NELGA partners examined on national, regional and continental levels how this global pandemic was going to affect the implementation the network’s activities. In virtual meetings across the continent, they assessed their existing workplans, and with creativity and innovative minds, identified activities which could be implemented without physical contact.
“In this period of COVID-19 we all live in “lockdown” mode, whether voluntarily or not. But it is clear that our ideas cannot and must not be locked up under any circumstances. With this in mind, like everyone else, we do our best to maintain the same dynamism at work, even if it is from home.” (Oumy Faye- NELGA Francophone Africa)
Based on these brainstorming sessions between and within NELGA regions, many NELGA activities are currently being implemented mainly through virtual means. The research institutions adjusted and instead of meeting in person, used e-mails, online communication platforms, and phone calls for knowledge exchange and joint implementation. Emphasis was also laid on issues that weren’t prioritized in the past, such as better communication, monitoring and evaluation.
“In addition to maintaining permanent coordination activities, our strategy is to focus on activities that do not necessarily require a physical presence, such as strengthening communication, scientific activities via E-learning, and partnership consolidation.” (Oumy Faye- NELGA Francophone Africa).
Consolidating and expanding the Network
When it comes to networking and partners, the NELGA regional networks are being expanded and consolidated during the NELGA crisis. The NELGA regions updated their partner lists, entered into Memoranda of Understanding with new partners, and engaged with broader networks of academic and research institutions.
Outside of the NELGA academic institutions, NELGA also identified potential for wider collaboration and multi-stakeholder dialogue by establishing relations and identifying opportunities for collaboration with non-academic stakeholders, and particularly with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and the private sector.
To further strengthen the NELGA scholar and alumni network, a virtual scholarship holder meeting, which will put emphasis on science communication as well as the link between pandemics, open data and land governance, is currently being organized for August 2020.
“Virtual communication and collaboration is no longer just an option but a necessity. This covid-19 crises has presented an opportunity to accelerate the acquisition of necessary virtual skills, competence and equipment.” (NELGA Southern Africa- Theodor Muduva)
Many NELGA members also used the unexpected lockdown to critically examine the strategic development of the network and look into new strategic directives. In Northern and Southern Africa for example, Sustainability Strategies as well as Strategies on Gender and Outreach are being elaborated in consultation with partners. In Southern Africa, the “Research and Capacity Development Strategy for Land Governance” has been drafted and is currently discussed with the partners in the region.
Boosting outreach and communication
NELGA has also embarked on stronger communication within and beyond the network’s regions. A new layout and functions of the NELGA website were introduced and a full revamp of the NELGA digital environment, including the introduction of a NELGA research library and a virtual platform for land-related data and information are under preparation.
NELGA partners in Central, Francophone and Southern Africa updated and redesigned their regional websites. Newsletters were published in Central, Francophone and Western Africa. In addition, different NELGA members have edited and formatted knowledge products, such as policy briefs, research studies, newsletters, good practices and NELGA strategies.
In Northern Africa, two issues of the African Journal of Geospatial Sciences and Land Policy were published, and the Francophone African University Gaston-Berger in Senegal published two issues of the “Cahier du Foncier”, focusing on the methodology of land tenure research, as well as good land tenure practices in Francophone West Africa.
NUST university in Namibia, the Southern African node of the NELGA network, continued to publish opinion pieces on Land Governance authored and submitted by partners. The opinion pieces are published in key newspapers in Namibia, which during global crisis become even more relevant means of information than usual.
Several NELGA members also used their (partial) lockdowns to elaborate and share various good practices. NELGA Central and Southern Africa, for example, collaborated on a good practice piece on NELGA advisory missions to effectively mainstream land governance issues into National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP) under the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of the African Union
Developing online learning opportunities
For many NELGA nodes, who had already started to think about online learning in the past years, the emergence of COVID-19 increased the urgency for sound online learning measures in the field of land governance. Many NELGA institutions therefore fast-tracked their online learning ideas and plans.
University of Yaoundé I, the NELGA excellence center for Central Africa, finalized a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) project on land conflicts. NUST university is elaborating a course on land governance and corruption to equip land professionals in various stages of their career with the tools, tactics and networks to help tackle issues of land corruption.
In NELGA Francophone Africa, webinar series in the form of virtual doctoral seminars dedicated to PhD students were held in June 2020, and a directory of young researchers and land professionals with a special focus on PhD students was initiated. Similarly, IAV university in Morocco, the NELGA Northern African node, adapted to the new learning environment and conducted distance education to Master students, and monitored students who are virtually carrying out their internships in different land governance institutions and companies. Northern Africa also tested an e-learning platform which helps ensure and evaluate courses online with African NELGA partners.
NELGA also boosted research activities all over the continent. In NELGA Southern Africa and Northern Africa, Scoping Studies on the needs and demands of scientific research in land governance are in the process of finalization and will be presented virtually. Under the NELGA scholarship programme, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) issued a fellowship call for research on the trajectories between COVID-19 and good land governance.
What we learned
Virtual communication and collaboration is no longer just an option but a necessity. The COVID-19 crisis has presented an opportunity to accelerate the acquisition of necessary virtual skills and competences. In an effort to enhance collaboration during this time of the global pandemic, NELGA universities have embarked on an assessment of the virtual capabilities and competence of their structures and partners and initiated capacity building initiatives, with regards to online learning as well as virtual tools and social media platforms. This will contribute to even more effective cooperation, collaboration and consequently effective implementation in the NELGA network. Ultimately, NELGA is now an even stronger network than before, and better equipped with the virtual tools that are crucial for the future of research and learning.
“To put it plainly, COVID 19 will not only have negative effects on NELGA in Central Africa but will help also our network to better utilize new communication tools and to innovate in reorienting and adapting its activities.” (NELGA Central Africa- Rosette Mbenda)