A significant obstacle in Africa has been the lack of human and institutional capacity to implement sustainable land policies. This has impacted numerous land administration and management facets, including surveying, land use planning, land titling, and cadaster. The insufficient quality of academic programmes in African universities and institutions of higher education is one of the primary causes of this issue. In addition, most nations lack the capacity for applied research, monitoring, and evaluation and the data required for effective land policy implementation.
The African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) established the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) to address these issues. NELGA is a partnership between African universities and research institutions that have demonstrated leadership in land governance education, training, and research. The NELGA seeks to improve land governance training opportunities and curricula, promote demand-driven research on land policy issues, connect scholars and researchers across Africa through academic networks, and generate data and information for monitoring and evaluating land policy reforms.
To ensure better coordination of NELGA across the continent, a lead university has been chosen for each AU region; these universities are known as “regional nodes.” The University of Yaoundé 1 has been chosen to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of NELGA activities in Central Africa.
In October 2022, a workshop on evaluation and planning was held in Douala, Cameroon, to assess the quantity and quality of land-related training and the institutional and human competencies of higher education institutions working on land issues. The workshop’s objective was to ensure that land governance is incorporated into land-related training courses and that practitioners and decision-makers have a deeper understanding of land governance.
During the workshop, it became apparent that land-related institutions were not significantly associated with or engaged in NELGA’s activities. To foster knowledge development and sharing, capacity development of land-related institutions, research-policy dialogue, improvement of decision-making processes based on research findings, and the overall improvement of land policy at the continental and national level, it was necessary to increase the involvement of land practitioners working in governmental and non-governmental institutions.
To accomplish this goal, a two-day workshop will be conducted in Yaounde on May 28 and 29, 2023. The workshop aims to bring together land-related institutions operating at the national level in Cameroon to share information about NELGA, collect their needs in capacity and institutional development, design relative focal points, explore means of collaboration from central to regional levels, explore means and axes of collaboration between these institutions and NELGA, and develop a working plan.
After the workshop, land-related institutions should thoroughly understand NELGA’s activities, goals, and vision on a national and regional scale. Their needs in terms of capacity-building and development will be gathered, and a strategy for their implementation will be implemented. The focal points will be identified, their duties and responsibilities will be clarified and consolidated, and an MOU draught will be available for review. Overall, it is anticipated that the workshop will increase the participation of land practitioners in NELGA’s activities, which will contribute to developing national and continental land policy.