GRADUATION DAY! PLAAS Graduates 88 NELGA and ALPC Participants from the Political Economy of Land Governance Short Course

The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) recently held a ground-breaking week-long online course on the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa which was attended by 88 participants from 29 African countries.

The course represents a landmark achievement in the development of a major, new pan-African knowledge-production and training project helmed by PLAAS since it was chosen as a leading partner in a recently established platform sponsored by the African Union (AU) – the Network of Excellence in Land Governance (NELGA).

The five-day training which was conceptualised and developed by PLAAS as a bespoke offering for African land administration officials brought together academics and scholars from some of the continent’s leading universities and think-tanks which have been incorporated into NELGA.

In order to broaden the reach of the course, PLAAS has in previous years taken it “on the road”, offering in-situ training to land researchers, administrators, policy-makers, professionals and activists across Africa.

However, after the global Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, this was no longer feasible and PLAAS took the decision to refashion and scale-up the course for online engagement in order to continue the project’s mission, which is to produce the African land professionals of the future.

So, on 6-10 September, an online version of the course was launched at which stakeholders from governments, the private sector, academia and civil society, including a cohort of African early-career researchers, engaged in discussions on land governance on the continent directed by leading thinkers in the field.

The course, which was forged by PLAAS, the African Union’s Land Policy Centre and NELGA, with funding from the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), featured a host of seminal presentations from senior academics and researchers working in the areas of poverty, land and agrarian studies.

The training included in-depth analysis of country-specific land administration dynamics. It also adopted a pan-African focus in line with the goal of producing an activist cohort of practitioners capable of helping to implement, and inform, high-level policy deliberations made at the AU.

In particular, current issues such as women’s land rights, climate change and natural resource distribution, were addressed.

The programme also featured sessions on:

  • The histories of customary and statutory land tenure;
  • Land reform, policy and governance in Southern, West, Eastern and North Africa;
  • The political economy of land on the continent;
  • Extractive industries and land rights;
  • The commodification of the commons;
  • Rural and urban land administration;
  • Land-grabbing; and
  • African and global land-policy responses.

In broad terms, the five-day course sought to help equip the land professionals and policy-makers of the future with the skills required to strengthen land rights and governance, with a particular focus on the majority of rural and urban residents on the continent who have insecure tenure rights either in law or in practice.

The course, which is accredited by the University of the Western Cape (UWC), adopted a mixed methodology of: presentations from leaders in their field; workshops facilitated by early-career academics; and writing assignments.

Inaugural Webinar shows the Salience of the NEX Platform for Land Policy in Africa Discourse

The Africa Land Policy Center (ALPC), through NELGA, held its first NELGA Knowledge Exchange (NEX) webinar on September 30, 2021. The Webinar, which was hosted by NELGA technical node for Southern Africa, the Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape, featured speakers from the region and focused on the sharing case studies on hybrid municipal land governance in South Africa as a route to fixing land administration and structures in South Africa. The Webinar was supported by GIZ’s Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa (SLGA) program. It featured diverse participants from across Africa, including Chiefs of stakeholder organisations, academics, land experts, doctoral students, and professionals working in the purview of land governance and administration. 

Dr. Joan Kagwanja, Chief of ALPC, expressed her delight to participate at the NEX inaugural  Webinar as knowledge gained from such learning spaces makes its way into policy spaces and strengthening institutions where land rights are discussed and promoted leading to the prosperity of the people.

Organised in both English and French, Prof. Andries Du Toit from PLAAS chaired the NEX  with presentations from Dr. Gaynor Paradza, a land expert from the public affairs research institute, and Taki Sithagu lecturer at Wits University. In setting the scene, Prof Du Toit explained that it is important to consider technical and political solutions in addressing dysfunctional land systems in South Africa. Considering that to govern the land is to govern the people on the land, Prod Du Toti stated that it is important to institutionalise knowledge that improves land administration for countries such as South Africa with its wide range of land administration systems.

The two presentations delivered in the session focused on South Africa. Dr. Gaynor Paradza insightful presentation shed light on the benefits and problems of land administration, fixing the challenges of land administration, roles of formal and informal institutions, which are municipalities and traditional leaders.  According to Dr. Paradza, “a functional land administration system is fundamental to land reform, economic growth and equitable change and pursues widely accepted national land policy goals, plans and strategies. In South Africa, however, these objectives are often discordant or contested.” Dr. Paradza based her presentation on a framework that outlines a joint project among PLAAS, South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) which calls for reforms that focus on innovative and integrated land administration as a means to reconceptualise the institutional domain of land governance and help to overcome the fragmentation that undermines land administration. To emphasis the need for innovative land administration and data management systems, she states that “the people at Google Maps know more about African land data more than land practitioners here in Africa.” (20210907_LandAdminDiagnostic.pdf (

The Webinar also featured a compelling presentation from Taki Situgu titled -Hybrid land administration in rural municipalities (South Africa). This presentation enabled participants to reflect on hybrid land administration as a tool to address land dysfunctions, especially on neo-customary land systems. (Hybrid Land administration (

Read the full report here.

REGISTRATION OPEN: Rwanda to host the 2021 Conference on Land Policy in Africa #CLPA2021

Registration is now open to the 2021 Conference on Land Policy in Africa.

The fourth edition of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) will be held in a hybrid format on November 2- 4 2021, under the theme: “Land governance for safeguarding art, culture and heritage towards the Africa We Want”.

The Conference’s theme aligns to the African Union Declaration of 2021 as African’s Year of Art, Culture and Heritage through the theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

Participants should register for CLPA-2021 by clicking on this link to have access to the event agenda, paper abstracts, and synopses of plenary sessions, masterclasses and side events, and to presented papers, upon the completion of the event, in addition to access to individual links to all sessions.

As the conference will use Zoom as its video streaming platform, participants are also invited to register on the following zoom link,

However, on the zoom link, the registration details are minimal as you will only be required to provide your name and email address. Those who have not registered on the conftool platform will not have access to any of the event sessions through the Zoom links.

CLPA is organized by African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), a joint initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It will be co-hosted by the Government of Rwanda

Joan  Kagwanja, Chief of ALPC notes that land in Africa is at the centre of culture and heritage, which provides a framework for a continental discourse towards improving the land governance space and attaining “The Africa We Want” as envisioned in the AU Agenda 2063.

She further observed that the ALPC recognizes the potential role of arts, culture, and heritage in catalysing the socioeconomic development and integration of the African continent. Hence, the proposed theme draws inspiration from the AU Agenda 2063 as a shared strategic framework and blueprint for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“The year of arts, culture and heritage happens at a time when AU Member States are grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposes heavy human, financial and economic costs to the land governance space in Africa,” said Ms Kagwanja.

The overall objective of the Conference is to deepen commitment and strengthen capacity for land policy development, implementation and monitoring in Africa through improved access to knowledge and information in support of evidence-based land policymaking.

The CLPA conference is expected to improve knowledge in support of evidence-based land policy development, implementation and monitoring in Africa; enhanced and deepened consensus amongst African policymakers and stakeholders on promising avenues for addressing land governance challenges; improved networking, partnerships and resources for land governance and land policy in Africa; better appreciation of the role of land for safeguarding Africa’s art, culture, and heritage on livelihood particularly for marginalised groups.

Held every two years, the conference draws participants from government, academia, research, traditional authorities and other non-state actors, private sector and development partners to disseminate and exchange knowledge to promoting dialogue, networking, advocacy and partnerships in support of implementation of the AU agenda on land. Central to this agenda is evidence-based land policy development, review, implementation and monitoring.

About ALPC

ALPC was launched in 2017 as a successor to the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) established in 2006. Key achievements of the LPI include the development of the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G), prepared to provide guidance on the development and implementation of sound national land policies and the Guiding Principles on Large- scale Land based Investments (GPs) availed to AU member states in support of the negotiation of fairer and more sustainable land investments.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826

For more information on the conference, click here :

NELGA Knowledge Exchange on Land Governance in Africa I Focus- Southern Africa

South Africa’s land governance is an outcome of diverse processes that include but are not limited to land administration.  A focus on land administration’s history, ongoing research and initiatives to improve land administration reveal how the country experiences the challenges and outcomes of attempts to resolve the problems.

The webinar will provide an overview of the challenges of  South Africa’s dysfunctional land administration system, which is marred by a deep dualism that leaves an estimated 60% of South Africans without de facto institutional support for informal and customary rights in land and also highlight insights gained from ongoing attempts to  address the challenges

The webinar will touch on the following subjects:

1. The colonial origins of South Africa’s dualistic land administration system and the practical consequences.

2. A case study of hybrid land management institutions that have evolved in response to experienced dysfunction, highlighting both the opportunities and the risks involved.

3.  Findings from a pilot project exploring the scope for reform of dysfunctional systems through processes of social dialogue and institutional learning.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Sep 30, 2021 01:00 PM Nairobi

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

NELGA Land Data Hub Holds Sensitization Workshop for Stakeholders in Tanzania

The Land Administration Unit at Ardhi University which hosts the NELGA Eastern Africa Node organized the NELGA Land Data Hub Sensitization Workshop jointly with the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) from July 5 to 9, 2021 at the university.

NELGA’s Land Data Hub is a platform developed to ensure the collation, documentation and real-time analysis of land data in Africa. The Hub is currently piloted in Tanzania and the workshop provided land stakeholders and users from research institutions, academics and government representatives the opportunity to share useful inputs to the RCMRD Team on the Land Data Hub particularly on issues of access to data, functionalities of the developed data hub and the themes.

Developed by RCMRD and Geo Consult International (GCI) with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the NELGA Land Data Hub aims to accumulate and store country- and region-specific sources of land-related information. It also intends to guide land governance stakeholders and end-users in obtaining this information.

An Action Plan for improving the data hub was drawn with a timeline of two months i.e. 13th July – 2nd September 2021.

To read up on the data hub, click here: RCMRD and GCI Holds Workshop to Showcase NELGA Land Data Hub – The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa

NELGA Sensitize Local Leaders on Gender and Land Rights in Tanzania

The Land Administration Unit at Ardhi University, the NELGA Node for East Africa, embarked on a Community Outreach Project from July 12 to 17, to sensitize local leaders in community districts on land laws with an ultimate goal to spearhead good land governance.

These were carried out through a series of awareness-raising workshops in three districts i.e. Kilwa, Lindi Rural (Mtama) and Ileje. Over 200 local leaders drawn from among members of Village Councils, Village Leaders (Chairpersons and Village Executive Officers), Ward Executive Officers and Councillors, and members of the Ward Tribunal from the respective districts participated in the workshops. In addition, District land professionals and representatives of District Commissioners and District Administrative Secretaries participated in the workshops.

The Workshops were participatory and focused on the legal framework governing access to land touching on village land management, land rights of various groups such as women, youth and pastoralists.  The outreach programme addressed land challenges from the gender perspective and their related bundle of rights, and highlight land rights, land acts, and policies in Tanzania as instruments against gender discrimination to land, and develop a system to create common solutions. Such instruments are key to empower women and reduce related land conflicts at the grassroots level before seeking resolution for land disputes through other means.

Frieda’s Story – NELGA Success Story

Frieda Nangolo is a 2020 NELGA-DAAD scholarship holder at Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) Department of Land and Property Sciences (DLPS).  She shares her story on the impact of the NELGA experience post-graduation.

In 2017, Frieda Nangolo was granted the opportunity to further her studies with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a financial support through the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). An optimist by nature, Frieda believed that hard work and a positive attitude were the keys to getting the scholarship and excelling as the first graduate within her scholarship group in 2020.

“I grew up in Onkani village in the northern parts of Namibia. After High School, I moved to Windhoek, where I enrolled for an undergraduate degree in Property Studies at Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST). I completed my degree in 2014 and graduated in 2015. I started working as an intern at Windhoek Municipality, where I gained working experience in the land industry. However, I felt there was more I needed to learn. In 2017, I got a golden opportunity to further my studies with a scholarship from DAAD for a Masters in Spatial Sciences,” said Frieda.

The scholarship covered Frieda’s tuition, personal needs, and study materials. This came in handy, as she balanced her studies while having a full-time job, running an online masters degree concurrently and her family life. Excelling at her graduation, Frieda opined that, “My experience studying with DAAD was a good one. It  challenged me at some points as it brought out a different side of me which I never thought I have.”

Frieda was fortunate enough to complete her studies in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Namibia.

NELGA Expands Network in Central Africa

In 2019, NELGA officially launched its Central Africa node in Cameroon with a regional hub at the University of Yaoundé I. The node partnered with institutions across the region, recording successes, including developing an adopted road map to address conflict challenges between herders and farmers in Mbororo, Cameroon and making policy recommendations into the Revised Rural Sectarian Development Strategy and the National Agricultural Investment Plan (SDSR/PNIA) in Cameroon. In 2021, it became necessary to expand the node’s reach to other francophone academic and research institutions, especially in Chad, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In July 2021, the NELGA team were in DRC to meet with various universities rectors, vice-rectors, deans, teachers, and students in fulfilling the above mandate. The team visited relevant land-focused departments at the University of Lubumbashi and the University of Likasi, making a compelling case to join the NELGA network.

The Universities stated their willingness to be part of the network. They identified focal persons for further engagement in bringing the institution into the network. Students working on land issues were ecstatic about the opportunities provided by NELGA, including the DAAD scholarship and online seminars. They looked forward to being part of upcoming meetings and events.

Click here to read more about this advocacy visit.

Submit Short Stories on Land Governance in Africa | Deadline August 31, 2021

The Conference on Land Policy in Africa- a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank is inviting young African creatives to re-imagine land governance in Africa by writing short stories as part of CLPA coming up on November 2-4, 2021.

We are seeking stories written by African writers located on the continent or in the African diaspora. Creative African youth are strongly encouraged to submit their stories.

Click below to view the call in English and in French

2021 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA)

Land governance for safeguarding art, culture and heritage towards the Africa We Want

2 NOVEMBER, 2021 TO 4 NOVEMBER, 2021

Hybrid format – Online and in Kigali, Rwanda

The Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) is organised biennially by the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank. The goal is to deepen capacity for land policy in Africa through improved access to knowledge and information on land policymaking and implementation. The CLPA is a platform for presenting research findings and focusing the attention of a comprehensive range of stakeholders on the issues and status of land policy development, implementation and monitoring in Africa. The CLPA also provides a unique opportunity to showcase emerging and promising practices and facilitate networking. Conference participants include researchers, governments (including parliamentarians), traditional authorities, farmers, civil society, private sector, land practitioners and development partners. The CLPA was first held in 2014, focusing on land, Investment and agriculture issues. A second edition of CLPA was held under a theme targeting youth, land and employment in November 2017. The most recent 2019 CLPA focused on winning the fight against corruption in the land sector.

The fourth CLPA is scheduled to take place over 2 – 4 November 2021 combining online and conventional sessions in a hybrid format, in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme: “Land governance for safeguarding art, culture and heritage towards the Africa We Want”.  The Conference’s theme aligns with the African Union Declaration of 2021 as “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building Africa We Want,” which is epitomized by Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063. The Conference will focus on African heritage and cultural dimensions of land and the potential to secure livelihoods, economic growth, and sustainable development through the creative economy in both the rural and urban settings. The Conference will also focus on fostering innovation, and stimulating social and economic value through creativity, talent, intellectual capital, expressions of the arts, and cultural entrepreneurship as envisioned in Agenda 2063. 

This edition of the Biennial Conference will adopt a creative and scientific approach in line with its theme. The Conference is designed to capture a broad range of emerging issues and knowledge and generate interest in current land policy themes from a wide range of African policy actors. The conference format will be a hybrid with online and physical participation in Kigali that covers plenary and parallel sessions, masterclasses, pre-conference events, side events, exhibitions, and social media to reach a broader audience.