Blog

Integration of Land Tenure Issues into the Revised Rural Sectarian Development Strategy and the National Agricultural Investment Plan (SDSR/PNIA) in Cameroun

From September 9th to 10th, 2020, the Government of Cameroon, with the support of FAO and other partners, convened a multi-sectoral workshop to review, validate, and appropriate the Rural Sectarian Development Strategy and the National Agricultural Investment Plan (SDSR/PNIA) for 2020-2030, in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Since 2019, Cameroon has committed to making the rural sector one of the critical sectors contributing to its development. The SDSR/PNIA serves as the benchmark and framework for developing and investing in Cameroon’s rural areas. The policy documents play an integral part in the country’s commitment to the Malabo Declaration.

The meeting heard opening remarks from  FAO Representative on behalf of the Technical and Financial Partners (PTFs) for the development of the rural sector; a representative of the African Union (AU);  and a keynote address by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development that was followed by a brief presentation of the SDSR/PNIA 2020-2030 by the Coordinator of the Technical Secretariat of the SDSR/PNIA.

The SDSR/PNIA strategic directions consist of four main axes: 1) sustainable growth in production in the plant and forestry sectors, animal and fishing; 2) improving the collective infrastructure environment and access to factors of production; 3) strengthening the resilience of production systems, sustainable management of natural resources and food and nutrition security of vulnerable populations in the face of climate change; 4) Improving governance and human capital in the sector.

GIZ, through the Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa Program, carried out a study on the evaluation of land governance in Cameroon to make a significant contribution to the revision process of the SDSR/PNIA.

The Results of this study were submitted to the Technical Secretariat in charge of coordinating the review process. During the validation workshop, it was observed with great satisfaction that most of the actions and recommendations concerning land tenure were considered in the revised version of the SDRS/PNIA document.

These main actions and recommendations are the following:

  • Involve decentralized local authorities, local communities, and indigenous peoples in the review process and implementation of the new PNIA.
  • Finalize the implementation of land reforms that consider women’s rights, young people and indigenous people to land,  and the adoption of relevant compensation systems.  
  • Finalize the implementation of forest reform, taking into account the guidelines of land reforms on securing rights, improving regulations on the sustainability of exploitation in the DFNP (Non-permanent forest estate), taking into account emerging factors such as climate change and other unpredictable social phenomena, internal displacement, and others.
  • Finalize the implementation of  the pastoral code with consideration for the sustainability of operating systems, securing rights and arbitration of conflicts;
  • The Law Framework on Environmental Management should be updated with allowances made for the sustainability of production systems, the vulnerability related to unpredictable social or natural phenomena, and international commitments to sustainable management sectors.
  • Promoting the implementation of community consultation platforms for all initiatives.
  • Institutionalization of independent land observation that will serve as collective vigilance.
  • Digitization of the land registry and sharing information /communication on land operations.
  • Monitoring and evaluating land governance issues by the Rural Sector Monitoring Committee (COS) and Strengthening COS in monitoring land governance issues.
  • Support for mapping communities and promoting innovative approaches to community security (participatory mapping, mapping of community land rights, etc.).
  • Awareness and information on land operations and the implementation of major development projects.
  • Protection of watercourses and watersheds.
  • Sensitization and accompaniment of women, youth and IPs in accessing land for agriculture.

Participants at the workshop include representatives from technical committees on SDSR, rural departmental programs, and ministries, civil society space, National Youth Council, the Chamber of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Forestry, including some regional representatives; the private sector, universities, other public administrative institutions,  consumer unions, and SDSR/PNIA Technical Secretariat. The applauded the use of the multi-sector approach for policy reviews and recommended that such actions be strengthened for ongoing sector policy development and review processes.

Following this meeting, the validated document will be shared with AUDA-NEPAD for an independent external technical journal. Subsequently, a bilingual edition of the SDSR/PNIA 2020-2030 document will be publicized and a business meeting scheduled to discuss stakeholders’ financial commitments towards implementing the SDSR/PNIA 2020-2030 plan.

Click the link below to read the full report of the study on evaluation of land governance in Cameroon.

NELGA Southern Africa Hub to hold Research and Capacity Development Workshop on Land Governance Innovation in Southern Africa

From October 6th – 8th, 2020, the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa Southern Africa hub at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) will hold a virtual workshop to present its final draft of the Research and Capacity Development Strategy for Land Governance Innovation in Southern Africa. When adopted, the strategy serves as the basis for future research and capacity building in land governance innovation within the Southern African region.

The strategy document stems from the regional hub’s research on land governance in Southern Africa, which covers the description and assessment of Land Governance in the region. The countries covered include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  The eight-country assessment results were presented at the NUST-NELGA Hub for Southern Africa at a 2-day Symposium in 2019. The Symposium identified regional land policy implications and the key land challenges facing Southern African countries. The key challenges and opportunities were published in a Synthesis Report in 2020. The eight country case studies and the synthesis report will form the basis for future research, capacity development, and policy innovation in the region.

Ensuring that recommendations published in the Synthesis Report are carried out systematically, NUST-NELGA Hub developed the “Research and Capacity Development Strategy for Land Governance Innovation in Southern Africa” for the period 2020 to 2025.

The strategic initiatives outlined in the Research and Capacity Development Strategy for Land Governance Innovation in southern Africa are closely aligned with the prominent African and International Initiatives. The strategy supports and draws inspiration from the African Land Policy Initiative and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa as well as the African Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGTs) and the World Bank Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF).

The meeting will have in attendance, civil society actors, policymakers, academics, and researchers from the region and across the continent.

For inquiries, contact nelga@nust.na

The African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences Listed in ERIH PLUS

NELGA is pleased to announce that its periodical, the African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences (AJLP&GS), is now approved for inclusion in the European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS), one of the most prominent authority lists in Europe for academic Journals.

ERIH Plus’s key objective is it improves the global visibility of hg-quality academic research, and It is expected that with this inclusion, it will increase the visibility, searchability, and availability of the AJLP&GS to wider stakeholders.

This inclusion reflects the high quality of the academic research found in the AGJLP&GS, and will significantly expand land governance experts’ access to vital studies for further research and case studies.

AJLP & GS is a journal specialized in publishing research activities carried out in geospatial sciences and land governance. It aims to encourage innovation, promote the exchange of knowledge and scientific outcomes related to its themes. The Journal’s target community is made up of researchers, professors, and professionals working in the newspaper field. The Journal also aims to promote scientific articles and productions at the African, regional, and global levels.

The inclusion speaks to the rigorous standards met by the researchers, editorial team, and peer reviews to be accepted into the EEIH SPSS.

You can find the listing here: https://dbh.nsd.uib.no/publiseringskanaler/erihplus/periodical/info?id=499477

This is one in many other accrued successes by the Journal, which includes adding an ICDS score of 3.3 for 2020 from the University of Barcelona as one of the best references for scientists and researchers:  http://miar.ub.edu/issn/2657-2664. The  AgEcon Search added the Journal to its repository as one of the best concerns for scientists and researchers:   https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/search?ln=en&cc=2367&p=&f=&action_search=Search. The UNIVERSITÄT LEIPZIG also included the Journal in its database: https://www.ub.uni-leipzig.de/en/research/electronic-journals/ezb-detail-view/?libconnect%5Bjourid%5D=461537, and also integrated into the ZDB Germain union catalog: https://zdb-katalog.de/list.xhtml?t=zdb%3D3002625-8&key=cql

To access the journal, click here.

NELGA CA Successfully Completes Mission Visit to the University of Douala, Cameroon

From September 3 to 9, 2020, the NELGA Central Africa team completed a mission trip to the University of Douala, Cameroon, to discuss opportunities for partnership between the school and the network. The team held several meetings and interviews with faculty, staff, and students from the land-themed departments. These interviews serve as a follow-up exercise to ascertain the university’s interest in becoming a member of the African Network, allowing the team to gather information and final evaluation.

Both school administrators and faculty staff complimented the professionalism and level of engagement of the NELGA CA team. They applauded their passion for closing capacity gaps around land reforms and governance through engaging the academic sector. The school was enthusiastic and supportive of the scholarship plans, networking opportunities and proffered new areas for research and curricula development on land themed issues, such as a land dispute, gender and access to land, and land tenure in Cameroon. The school expressed its willingness to partner with NELGA.

NELGA CA is currently exploring new collaboration and partnerships with state universities in Cameroon to increases its footprint in the region.   The NELGA Douala mission was coordinated by Prof. Paul Tchawa and implemented by Mme Rosette Mbenda and Dr. Tende Renz.

Technical Experts in Africa Hold Planning Meeting on Land Governance in Africa

Land governance specialists design 2020-2021 work plans in the face of Covid Crisis

Virtual, 16 September 2020 –The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) and its regional and technical nodes met virtually on Wednesday, 16 September 2020, under the coordination of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC), to review the progress made regarding the 2020 work plans, to appraise NELGA secretariat work plan for 2020-2021 and encourage coordinated efforts to meet African Union agenda on land.

The technical planning meeting is part of the continental programme comprised by ALPC, NELGA, and GIZ, which includes land governance technical experts, academics, , and government stakeholders, tasked to provide academic support and oversight, research data and reports, and policies recommendation to influence land governance and reforms in Africa. The planning meeting is an event that brings together NELGA stakeholders to look at the experience of the past months of working together, identify lessons learned, and tag areas for the next steps.

The meeting was opened by the Chief of the African Land Policy Centre, Dr. Joan Kagwanja, and co-chaired by the GIZs Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance, Head of Program, Ms. Anita Hernig.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Kagwanja stated, “The planning meeting provides additional insight and information which helps NELGA secretariat and ALPC develop actions to advance practical steps towards moving the dial on policy changes in land administration in Africa. Ultimately it needs to get there. Besides the usual focused discussions on what we have done in the different areas of land governance work and exchanges, I am looking forward to building more synergy to meet set goals.”

The meeting celebrated the successful establishment of the NELGA secretariat and the onboarding of its multi-nationality pioneer staff in the height of the Covid Crisis. “It is expected that with the full recruitment of the secretariat team, this will enhance communication, coordination, and collaboration within the Network at the continental level,” explain Dr. Kagwanja.

The NELGA secretariat will improve the coordination, knowledge generation and dissemination of the network’s activities jointly with NELGA Institutions across the continent through its regional nodes. These activities include training for NELGA students, implementation of the NELGA scholarship programme, advocating and facilitating delivery of trainings for scholars and policy makers in the region; and work with the RegRECs and other regional/national stakeholders to generate data. Working through the regional nodes, the secretariat will coordinate regional activities involving NELGA member institutions, linking them to other NELGA regional networks for joint activities, knowledge sharing and partnership building.

The planning meeting also discussed the regional work plans from North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, and Anglophone and Francophone West Africa, including reports from technical partners. The meeting provided an opportunity to showcase the network results through collaborative research, scholarships programs and knowledge exchange, review the comprehensive and harmonized workplans, introduce new partnerships, opportunities and sustainability strategies, to meeting the African Union’s commitment to improving land policies in Africa for 2020-2021.

Following the meeting, the participants agreed that the network had introduced innovative methods in response to Covid-19. It is essential to consolidate these lessons, especially for how the academic institutions have introduced digital platforms to foster e-learning on land governance.  This and other lessons learnt will be found on the NELGA Website homepage in the coming months.

The event brought together diverse representatives of regional stakeholders from Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Germany.

###

NOTE TO EDITORS:


The African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), formerly called the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) , and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its purpose is to enable the use of land to lend impetus to the process of African development. The programme is governed by a Steering Committee that meets periodically, while a joint secretariat implements day to day activities.

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.

The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa Launches its Continental Secretariat in Ethiopia

The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) has launched its continental secretariat, which aims to, among other things, strengthen the steering and management of NELGA’s activities on the continent. It is expected that with the establishment of the secretariat, the network will enhance its communication, coordination, and collaboration efforts to build on established results, foster an enabling environment to influence land policy frameworks through research, policy dialogues, and capacity building.

The secretariat, situated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, serves as the administrative hub for all NELGA actions. The secretariat will work through NELGA regional nodes in East Africa, South Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, and West Africa (Francophone and Anglophone) to meet the needs of its network and deliver on its goal under the general coordination of the African Land Policy Center at UNECA and support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Since 2015, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) signed a Declaration to establish NELGA, a partnership of leading African universities and research institutions, to strengthen human and institutional capacities to implement the African Union agenda on land. NELGA instituted regional hubs across Africa to meet these goals. The establishment of the secretariat is one of the essential steps to improve coordination within the nodes and meet the AU agenda on land

NELGA is a partnership of more than 70 African universities and research institutions with proven leadership and track record in education, training, and research on land governance. Its primary purpose is to enhance the role of African universities and research institutions in supporting land policy development, implementation, and monitoring.

Due to the Covid crisis, members of the secretariat are working remotely now.

To read more about NELGA and funding opportunities, click here.

Call for Funding Applications: NELGA Digital Accompanying Measures

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to organize accompanying measures for the “Network of Excellence for 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.

The objectives of NELGA are:
• Enhancing training opportunities and curricula on land governance in Africa;
• Promoting demand-driven research on land policy issues;
• Connecting scholars and researchers across Africa through academic
networks;
• Creating data and information for monitoring and evaluation of land policy reforms.

We invite NELGA partners to apply for funding for small measures to mitigate the effect of the covid19 crisis in the functioning of NELGA through digital means. Such measures are meant to ensure a certain operational continuity, both in term of regional collaboration between NELGA partner institution, but as well as the internal functioning within the institution (e.g. continuity of teaching). This funding is part of the general open call for NELGA accompanying measures as attached.

Measures eligible for funding:
• Conducting needs assessments for e-learning solutions
• Development of digital teaching and learning materials (e.g. new online
modules)
• Implementation of virtual events.

For the implementation of digitalization activities, expenditure on personnel for the support of digital formats, as well as software, licenses and fees and services for external e-learning experts and developers are possible.
The budget of the measure should not exceed 15,000.00 EUR.

The application is to be submitted in writing electronically and must include:
• A detailed description of the project including concrete measurable objectives;
• A schedule of all planned measures as well as a detailed budget (template on request);
• Evidence of existing/initiated contacts with partners, where applicable.

Selection of applications:
A DAAD commission will assess the funding applications. The criteria for the selection of funding applications are as follows:
• A complete application;
• Inclusion of specific, measurable objectives which are directly related to the program objectives;
• Convincing description of plans for networking and network expansion;
• Description of sustainability and consolidation of measures.
• Economic and efficient use of financial resources.

The following aspects are relevant for the selection of proposals for curriculum development and review:
• Sustainability of the measures after the covid19 crisis;
• Capacity building that will enhance the digital literacy of NELGA partners;
• Promotion of e-learning in a sustainable manner;
• Cooperation with other NELGA partner universities.

Applications for the NELGA-DAAD accompanying measures may be submitted throughout the year. For this specialized call for funding for the covid19 mitigation measure, we invite you to apply before the 15th of October 2020.

Applications can be sent to the following contact persons:
Ms Jana Bömer, boemer@daad.de

For more information and to understand our financial framework for funding, click the download buttons below.

Land Tenure Insecurity and Urbanization in Benin – NELGA Land Register Francophone West Africa

In Benin, the issue of land tenure insecurity and the instability of land rights in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas draws its source from the increasing pressure exercised by different categories of land stakeholders in their search for space for the development of their economic, social and cultural activities.

Consequently, the exercise of land rights remains low and does not stimulate appropriate enthusiasm by land stakeholders to turn land into productive investments for sustainable development and economic growth. Added to this situation is the virtual control exercised by families and communities on the agricultural land considered (rightly or wrongly) as goods inherited from their ancestors and, therefore, belonging to them. Often this preeminence of customary rights ancestral constitutes a brake on the implementation of agricultural development policies. While traditional rights include a variant of the rural land issue not negligible, it remains that the lack of supervision and better regulations annihilate the efforts made by the public authorities in reviving the agricultural sector.

This report from NELGA Francophone West Africa node, provides a case study for Benin republic with provisions for land reforms for land tenure security.

Click here to view the report.

Le Forum Foncier Africain – L’inscription est ouverte

Le Forum africain est un événement continental organisé chaque année par la Coalition de l’ILC en Afrique et ses partenaires pour réfléchir et recommander des solutions aux questions et défis brûlants de la gouvernance foncière sur le continent. Il offre une plateforme aux décideurs politiques, aux représentants des communautés, aux praticiens du développement et aux partenaires pour concevoir de nouvelles façons de mettre la gouvernance foncière au service des populations. L’ILC s’appuie sur la richesse et la diversité de ses membres et de ses partenaires pour mobiliser les parties prenantes afin qu’elles rejoignent le Forum foncier.

Le Forum foncier 2020 est organisé en partenariat avec le secrétariat de gouvernance foncière de l’IGAD et le Département de l’Économie Rurale et de l’Agriculture (DREA) de la Commission de l’Union africaine. Cet événement, qui se déroule à un moment où tous les secteurs sont ébranlés par la pandémie du Coronavirus (COVID-19), offre une occasion en or de réfléchir et de mettre en évidence le rôle pertinent de la gouvernance foncière dans le renforcement de la résilience et la protection des africains contre les effets négatifs de pandémies similaires à l’avenir. C’est également l’occasion de repousser les frontières de la réflexion sur le rôle de la gouvernance foncière.

Inscrivez-vous ici

Registration is now OPEN: Africa Land Forum 2020

The Africa Land Forum is a continental event organised annually by the International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa and its partners to reflect on, and recommend solutions to, burning land governance issues and challenges in the continent. It provides a platform for policymakers, community representatives, development practitioners and partners to devise novel ways of making land governance people-centred. ILC draws from its rich and diverse membership and partners to mobilise integrated stakeholders to join the Land Forum.

The 2020 Land Forum is organised in partnership with IGAD’s Land Governance Unit, and the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission. This event, taking place at a time when every sector is shaken by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, offers a golden opportunity to reflect and highlight the pertinent role of land governance in building resilience and protecting Africans from the negative impact of similar pandemics in the future. It also offers an occasion to push the frontiers of thought around the role of land governance in fostering socio-economic development and enabling the attainment of the 2063 aspirations.

Click here for more information and registration.

Demand Secure Tenure in Informal Settlements

INFORMAL SETTLEMENT growth poses a challenge for inhabitants, planners and local authority officials. Nonetheless, when governments and international development organisations are looking for solutions to problems faced by informal settlement communities, they rarely look at the people in these areas as problem-solvers; informal settlers are considered as beneficiaries, and in some instances a headache.

Which areas should Namibians consider as informal settlements? These are the areas found on the periphery of many towns, comprising 40% of the urban population, according to recent statistics shared by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN). Informal settlements’ households have limited individual water connections, limited or no toilets, houses are built out of substandard materials, and owners have no security of tenure for the land.

These are the locations in urban areas that authorities do not recognise as part of the formal built environment. Informality adds to the challenges for occupiers, as many have no physical addresses, and cannot access municipal and/or emergency services, partly due to the lack of roads and other infrastructure.

An additional struggle is that too many people are forced into open-air defecation, which denies residents the right to dignity, and puts women and girls at risks of crime and disease.

In instances when solutions are provided, it is normally using a piecemeal approach, that is usually top-down, as most upgrading is implemented based on what ”the authorities” believe is a priority. Lately, upgrading informal settlements focuses on the installation and improvement of services (water, toilets and housing structures), instead of focusing on tenure security. Although this delivery of services solves some of the problems, it is not a sustainable approach.

Sustainable solutions need to be rooted in secure land tenure for occupants of informal settlements. Development researchers have noted tenure security as an essential element for poverty reduction and the improvement of livelihoods. Hence, it is one of the important goals under the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which Namibia has committed to. Important to note is that the majority of people housed in informal settlements have no assurances that they have the rights to develop the land, or occupy it in perpetuity.

The Flexible Land Tenure Act, Act 4 of 2012 brings about a solution. The law aims to create an environment in which communities own land, and can be empowered economically as a result of having secure land rights. Residents will have the option of accessing either starter title or land titles once the Ministry of Land Reform (MLR) starts the implementation.

Research shows that the most land tenure secure residents invest more in their structures, and actively contribute to community development. In Namibia, communities living in informal settlements have been able to improve their level of tenure security by using participatory enumerations. However, security in the form of secure land titles is still lacking.

During the second national land conference last year, the SDFN informed the nation that 40% of the urban population lives in informal settlements. This has clearly shown that the housing challenge is real, and requires urgent solutions. This data presents an opportunity to plan adequately, and provide those people in informal settlements with tenure security through the delivery of development rights for people already occupying land in informal settlements.

There is an understanding that the Namibia Statistics Agency has data on the country’s population, but is it sufficient? Experience shows that in most cases, during the census, populations in informal settlements are underestimated. Hence, the lack or absence of data results in a lack of planning, or the prioritisation of projects for informal settlements.

Since 2009, the SDFN has collected data on its members and other communities in informal settlements, creating a clear picture of what challenges households face, and what solutions are available. The communities are leaders in data-collection: using flexible methods for counting households, mapping available services, and recording the settlement sizes. The data generated and methods used are cost-effective ways to implement databased solutions.

The available data could be a starting point to inform the government on levels of affordability, rates of population growth, and the development priorities of communities. Moreover, development practitioners, in partnership with communities, can design projects using the visualised and analysed data.

For this to have any impact, it requires the involvement of active and progressive individuals from the public and private sector who collaborate with communities in informal settlements. Moreover, projects geared towards improving lives in informal settlements should have tenure security as an entry point for upgrading.

Demographic data on informal settlement households, supported by socio-economic and spatial data, once analysed and visualised, can be one of the tools for stakeholders to use in planning. This, in turn, may contribute to the better implementation of developmental plans, while ensuring that there is transparency and accountability.

The solutions to problems facing informal households do not lie with one ministry, local authority, start-up or NGO. There is a need for a systematic approach that encompasses tenure security for communities in informal settlement communities, using a peoplecentred land use participatory planning process. This is vital in our quest to reduce poverty and implement sustainable solutions in informal settlements.

Equally, important, relevant data on informal settlements is vital in supporting evidencebased decision-making, and ensuring effective policy implementation.

Royal Mabakeng is a junior lecturer in the Land and Property Science Department at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust). She writes in her personal capacity.

The University of Dschang, Cameroon, Express Interest to Join NELGA

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.

Registration/De Courte Duree: Politique et Gouvernance Foncière à l’Appui de la Transformation Agricole en Afrique

En 2009, les chefs d’État et de gouvernement africains se sont engagés, dans une déclaration sur la terre, à lancer des processus nationaux d’élaboration et de mise en oeuvre de politiques foncières et à garantir un accès équitable à la terre à tous les utilisateurs, y compris les jeunes et les autres groupes sans terre. Ils ont également décidé d’accorder une attention particulière au renforcement de la sécurité d’occupation des terres pour les femmes africaines. Dans cette perspective, tous les États membres de l’UA ont été invités à “revoir leur secteur foncier en vue d’élaborer des politiques globales qui tiennent compte de leurs besoins particuliers” (Déclaration de l’UA sur la terre).

L’amélioration de l’élaboration, de la mise en oeuvre et du suivi des politiques foncières restera une aspiration, à moins que les capacités humaines pertinentes ne soient développées à diérents niveaux. C’est dans ce contexte que la présente formation en ligne est co-organisée par la Commission économique pour l’Afrique (CEA) par l’intermédiaire du Centre africain de politique foncière (ALPC), de l’Institut Africain de Développement Économique et de Planication (IDEP), du Réseau d’Excellence sur la Gouvernance Foncière (NELGA) et de la Commission de l’Union africaine (CUA).

formulaire d’inscription


In 2009, African heads of State and Government had through a Declaration on land, committed to initiate national land policy development and implementation processes and ensure equitable access to land for all land users including the youth and other landless groups. They also resolved to give special attention to strengthening security of tenure for African women. In this perspective, all AU member states were urged to “review their land sectors with a view to developing comprehensive policies which take into account their peculiar needs” (AU Declaration on land).

The improvement of land policy development, implementation and monitoring will remain an aspiration, unless relevant human capacities are developed at different levels. It is against such a backdrop that the present online training is co-organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) through African Land Policy Center (ALPC), the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), the Network of Excellence on Land Governance (NELGA) and the African Union Commission (AUC).

PLAAS and NELGA Digital Seminar Series Shares Lessons and Limitations around Women Land Rights in Africa

On Thursday, August 28, 2020, the Institute of Policy, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) held its NELGA-monthly web seminar on the topic: Legal pluralism and poor implementation hold back women’s land rights in Africa: What can we do?

The online seminar, which had over 80 participants from across Africa and globally, highlighted the essential linkages between women’s rights, formal and customary laws, and land tenures in Africa.

Women have restricted access and rights to land in Africa as laws and legislation at national and local levels are not inclusive. A vital takeaway from the seminar was the importance of building on existing international initiatives like the Kilimanjaro Initiative, national and state-level regulations, laws, and social-economic development interventions for women’s land rights in Africa.

Indigenous mechanisms for accountability are not gender-neutral. Formal laws are hardly implemented in rural locations where customary laws prevail over land tenure and rights. Women end up marginalized and, at times, given single plots that are not favorable or suitable for profitable purposes. Women are also facing double slaughter in their land rights due to increasing pressures from large-scale land-based investment in extractive sectors and agriculture.

There is a need to pay more attention to women’s land rights and their weakness. Unfortunately, the flaw stems from women’s insufficient participation in customary land management.  Women need to be empowered with education, information, and fiscal support to be able to meaningfully participate in decision making spaces and support the struggle for women’s rights.

Collective formalization can protect women’s land rights as it promotes inclusive ownership and diversity in land tenure within communities. Land reforms need not come only from statutory laws but also from modifications needed in family and marriage laws as such laws are the primary determinant of land ownership in many communities in Africa.

Panelists included Emmanuel Sulle (Research Associate, PLAAS), Benard Moseti (Oxfam, Pan Africa Programme) and Joséphine Atangana (Programme Officer Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC) as they jointly presented the outcomes of the three-year project—Women’s Land Rights for Inclusive Development and Growth in Africa. The project was implemented in seven African countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Togo.

You can watch a video of the discussion here. You can also download a snapshot of the online conversation on Twitter here.

Interested in the Women Score Sheet and Training of Trainers Manual for Women Land Rights as presented during the online seminar, click here.

Policy Brief – Strengthening Land Security for Internally Displaced Persons in Cameroon

It is obvious that land issue is one of the most important development topics in Central Africa. Currently, in the face of the development dynamics of countries and various other contemporary challenges, the pressure on land resources is increasing.

In December 2019, NELGA Central Africa and REPAR Cameroon organized a workshop to mobilize and sensitize Parliamentarians on the peculiar challenges faced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on land security. The meeting came out with a working document aimed at supporting a robust Parliament Government Dialogue on IDPs and land security with the expectation of securing better security of land rights.

A key outcome from the workshop was a consensus on the recommendations presented at the meeting and the creation of a policy brief on strengthening land security for IDPs. This policy document is the result of cooperation between NELGA Central Africa, the Central African Universities Network of Excellence on Land Governance and REPAR.


This Policy Brief is structured in four sections: the first aim is to show why it is important to secure the land rights of IDPs; the second analyses the issues and challenges of securing land rights for IDPs; the third summarizes recommendations on which to base the discussion prior to a possible revision of the texts. The last section offers suggestions for Parliamentarians and any other actor wishing to know more about the issue.

Click here to read and download the full brief in French and English. To view other policy briefs on land governance, click here.

Exclusion in planning perpetrates poverty in informal settlements

We should recognise that people in informal settlements have the same right to share the city with the same dignity and equality as other residents. Without the active participation of informal settlement residents in upgrading projects, any upgrading plans proposed are destined to flop. Post the pandemic, we (Namibian planning practitioners, donors and private sector) should look towards the inclusion of people in informal settlements communities in planning and upgrading of the informal settlements. 

Some people are of the opinion that speaking about problems or challenges will not bring about change. There is some truth to that line of thought. However, understanding the problem and origins can be of great assistance in identifying solutions that are desired by those affected. While some parts of the world are discussing smart cities, Namibian towns are challenged with providing secure land rights to most of the urban poor. Fortunately, the urban land reform debate finally came to the forefront on the national development agenda, after the focus has been on rural areas for the past 20 years. The focus on urban land reform could influence the emergence of innovative solutions; however, there is a risk of excluding communities affected from actively participating. 

The problems faced by the poor and low income who make up 40% of the urban population living in informal settlements are relevant for discussion, mainly as the poor are also important residents of the city as they contribute to vital services of the urban economy. In Namibia, like many developing countries, the poor are found at the periphery of cities, living in uncomfortable conditions with no tenure security and high anxiety caused by possibilities of eviction. Despite their challenging living environment, there is persistent exclusion of the poor in planning for upgrading. When local authorities plan, the informal settlement residents are seldom part of the discussion. 

The Urban and Regional Planning Act, 5 of 2018, passed by parliament, is yet to be implemented. The Act has some promising sections for informal settlement upgrading and key among these is the provision for participation and access to land. The Act clearly states that “spatial planning must be aimed at redressing past imbalances in respect of access to land ownership and land allocation. Plus it promotes access to relevant information for the public. However, public participation methods are left to the onus of the relevant minister. This would undoubtedly create bureaucratic challenges that may perpetuate exclusion of informal settlement residents from participating in the upgrading of their communities. 

It is vital for leaders in policy implementation to understand that the exclusion of residents in decisionmaking increases insecurity and prevents residents from seeking justice and legal remedy when those in positions of influence violate their rights. Rapid expansion of informal settlements and lack of service delivery in these areas is indicative of poor or no participation of residents affected in the development processes affecting their communities. 

There are solutions galore from various case studies on how we can improve informal settlements at scale and at a faster pace, yet implementation becomes a challenge. The introduction and revision of planning laws to reflect the needs of the people is a step to improving land delivery and citizen participation in planning. What remains, as a bottleneck for active participation of residents in informal settlements, is a lack of political will and buy-in from planning specialists. 

Lack of participatory planning delays the successful implementation of informal settlement upgrading projects. This creates a blockage to solutions that are sustainable and may lead to high social cost during implementation. The norm in planning is consultants are at the foreground during design, while residents are only consulted during the phase of construction or removal of shacks for roads and services. This may be due to how informal settlement residents are perceived; some planning practitioners see informal settlement residents as land invaders and not as people with the same rights to the city as those in formal areas. The exclusion of residents in the planning for their own settlements perpetuates discrimination and enforces powerlessness faced by the poor. 

Participatory planning is not a stress-free process that takes a few months – it is a process that requires incessant community engagement, trust, and relationship building. In this process, it is vital that the possibility of development fatigue and expectation management is tackled by planning teams with residents. Moreover, it is important that those in planning and community members can find a compromise to form partnerships that be a catalyst for sustainable solutions at a low cost.During normal operations, the right to assemble and demonstrate has given residents an opportunity to have their voices heard. However, this should not be the norm. For a population of 2.5 million, understanding the issues of residents at town level should not be a challenge. One major impediment to implementing scalable solutions for informal settlements is the limited availability of dedicated professionals in local authorities dealing with informal settlements. Rather, as important as the role of community development officers are, they are “jack-of-all-trades’’, which can lead to overload. It is important for implementation of upgrading for local authorities to establish dedicated departments on informal settlements upgrading.

Every local authority embarking on the upgrading of informal settlements ought to consider the inhabitants as primary partners, who can share their local knowledge that could affect the speed and cost of projects. For successful project implementation, the residents of informal settlements need to have access to relevant information on how the public process for budgeting, planning and decisions concerning housing provision are made within the government. The time for using facilitators that understand the importance of participation and have patience for communities is now more vital than before. Participatory upgrading is not an easy process at the start; it requires patience, good communication skills and knowledge of the local context. 

To empower communities, it is vital that information sharing, and participation is encouraged. This should not only happen during elections, but throughout the whole process of urban policy development. People in informal settlements may be poor due to their economic status; however, many do have a wealth of ideas on how they can improve their communities. Every town planning office should find means to harness this wealth, and participatory planning is the starting point. 

Ms. Menare Royal Mabakeng is a junior lecturer in the Land and Property Sciences Department at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), with a main research interest in fit for purpose land administration. She writes in her personal capacity.

Executive Summary: Covid-19 and African Food Security Digital Seminar

On June 25, 2020, a digital seminar on “Covid-19 and African Food Security” was held by the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) and the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape (UWC),  as the second in a series of seven monthly online seminars.

Photo credit: GIZ/Thomas Imo

The onset of the Covid-19 crisis has fast-tracked the continent’s food security challenges. The virtual meeting brought together civil society activists and academics to discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdowns launched in response to it have affected food security in Africa.

With the disruption in food production and constraints in food value chains by several factors, including lockdowns, market closures, border closures, the briefing note below provides insight into these complex food security environments with key recommendations and actions for critical stakeholders.

This briefing note is based on a webinar that aired on Thursday, June 25, 2020, and is available to watch on the PLAAS YouTube channel here.

Youth Engagement for Global Action on Land Rights

Did you know that empowering young people through knowledge and information on land rights can reduce poverty rates and support the development of the African continent?

As the world celebrates the 2020 International Youth Day Edition, we must harness the untapped potentials in our youth as the continent has the largest concentration of young people in the world. It is essential to engage the African youth in knowledge building and encouraging creativity to rapidly transform the continent’s land situations as key for a better future for their communities and country.

The global theme for #IYD2020 calls for Youth Engagement for Global Action; this is the time for African youth to improve their knowledge, advertise for youth-focused research and develop lasting solutions to land governance challenges on the continent. With good land governance and secure land rights, young people can help to stabilize their societies and create more opportunities for development.

Call for applications for research fellowships under the “Network of Excellence for Land Governance in Africa (NELGA)” during the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has forced the world into action. The measures taken to contain the virus have impacted the whole of society, including the education sector, with research becoming more important than ever. To help investigating how COVID-19 and related measures potentially affect housing, land, and property rights in African countries, and to deliver high-quality research on the COVID 19 implications for land governance institutions and systems in the long-term, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers support for special research fellowships under the “Network of Excellence for Land Governance in Africa (NELGA)” in the form of desk studies.

Applications for the NELGA research fellowships may be submitted throughout the year. For this specialized call we invite you to apply before the 15th of June 2020. The fellowship will be awarded for August 2020.

Download Application proceedures in English or French for more details.

Land & COVID-19 Webinars

As governments press pause on economic activities and people change their work and social behaviors to halt the spread of COVID-19, there are several hidden dimensions that can put pressure on land governance and management and threaten the land rights security of millions worldwide. In this section, we’ve put together the latest news on how COVID-19 affects various dimensions of land rights. Click on the link for a the list of upcoming webinars.

NELGA celebrates its first graduates

NELGA scholars: Peter Ochieng Odwe, Said Rajabu Mndeme, Rebecca Justin Milamo & Meckson Lodern Nzogela, from left -right

“Graduating from my master’s is a dream that came true at the right moment” Rebecca J. Milamo.

2019 marks a celebratory year for the NELGA scholarship programme, as we celebrate our first 10 graduates from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and Ardhi University, Tanzania.

The NELGA scholarship programme is a comprehensive scholars programme available for young academics and professionals from all African Union member states through the German Academic Exchange programme (DAAD). It aims to support master’s and PhD studies as well as short term trainings for young candidates, mid-career professionals and researchers. Since its inception in 2016, the scholarship programme has awarded a total of 82 scholarships to students from over 20 African countries of which 21 are women.

Rebecca Justin Milamo – MSc graduate Ardhi University, Tanzania

After my undergraduate degree (BSc. In Land Management and Valuation), I worked with several real estate firms and institutions as a trainee. That is when I realized that the land governance sector faces a lot of challenges but is also very exciting and promising. I also noted the land governance sector has limited number of qualified professionals, especially women. In my country, (Tanzania), women are less involved in land governance mainly due to social factors such as customary land rights which are governed based on culture or traditions of a particular group. Most tribes in Tanzania are patrilineal and marginalize women in land matters such as ownership, inheritance, management and decision making. I therefore saw an opportunity for women in the sector, and to be able to participate effectively, I needed to gain more knowledge and skills in this field of study. Hence, this inspired me to pursue MSc. Real Estate. – Rebecca.

Nancy Kankam Kusi – MSc graduate, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

“The passion to learn new things and my ambition to become an agent of change in the development sector has always been the driving force of my academic studies. Even though I was so excited when I completed my studies, I still have a great responsibility to transfer the knowledge I have gained so far to promote the land governance sector in the region.  I am currently looking for opportunities in-country and in-region to contribute immensely in the sector.” – Nancy

Special Issue – Land Policy in Africa

NELGA Masterclass © UNECA

The African Journal of Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences has published the first Issue for the year 2020. This Special Issue contains the reviewed and presented manuscripts at the Conference on Land Policy in Africa on November 25-29, 2019 in Abidjan. The theme of the Conference was ” Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation”. 

NELGA — SLGA’s flagship initiative — brings together African academia for the biennial Conference on Land Policy (CLPA) 2019

Organized by the African Land Policy Center (ALPC), with the support of SLGA, the third biennial conference on land seeking to deepen knowledge on land policy has been successfully concluded.  Themed “Winning the Fight Against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation,” this important five-day conference drew over 400 participants from government, traditional leaders, development organizations, academia, civil society and various stakeholders active in the sector of land governance in Africa to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire between Nov. 25-29, 2019.

Panel Discussion © SLGA

NELGA (the Network of Excellence on Land Governance), was established by the ALPC with financial and technical assistance from the German Government through the BMZ and GIZ as well as other development partners.

At the just concluded CLPA 2019, NELGA has played a significant role in bridging the research gaps related to land governance in the African continent. Representatives from NELGA member universities as well as NELGA sponsored African scholars have presented their research papers at the event, which were relevant and timely to the continent’s needs.

In addition to sponsoring paper presenters, NELGA participated in the event by organizing a Master Class, a NELGA booth where participants could get information about NELGA and its partner ALPC. A NELGA reception which provided another opportunity for networking and highlighting the program’s activities and achievements was also successfully organized.

NELGA’s capacity building activities in collaboration with PLAAS, DAAD and ADLAND have included  providing trainings, master classes, Masters and PhD scholarships and research fellowships to hundreds of African scholars.

Giving testimonials at the event, NELGA Master Class alumni have confirmed that the scholarships have had positive impacts on their future careers.

The crucial role of the academia in bringing about research-based policy changes as well as the need to build the capacity of institutions in addressing land governance issues has been on the forefront of land governance discussions in Africa.

NELGA’s strategic role as a change agent to address this crucial need has been recognized during the conference by stakeholders across countries and sectors. Fueled by the positive feedback from stakeholders and partners, NEGA is poised to enhance its activities in the year 2020.

NELGA short course graduates shared their experience at the conference and the impact the short course had on their professional life. Pictured here the NELGA family.

The consensus at the CLPA 2019 was that effective land governance was indispensable in achieving Africa’s development goal—the Agenda 2063, due to its direct contribution to end poverty and hunger, promote agriculture and investment, ensure gender equality and inclusive growth.

Sound land governance policies, with transparent and well-functioning systems provide incentives to investors and are crucial in fighting corruption while on the other hand legal uncertainty, lack of transparency and accountability, complex and unclear administrative processes, undeveloped systems create and foster corruption, and undermine business confidence and investment.

„In-Country/In-Region Scholarship Programme“ Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa (SLGA)

Call for Scholarship Applications 2020 at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) – Department of Land Economy. See attached document for details.

Application Closing Date at DAAD (for pre-selected candidates only):
February 29th 2020.

„In-Country/In-Region Scholarship Programme“ Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa (SLGA)

Call for Scholarship Applications 2020 at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – Department of Geomatic Engineering. See attached document for details.

Application Closing Date at DAAD (for pre-selected candidates only): February 29th 2020.