The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Francophone West Africa (NELGA) has launched a tremendous research opportunity for young researchers in the field of land governance in Africa. This program, led by Gaston Berger University, has funded research studies that have led to the publication of five (5) articles on land in West Africa. This initiative aims to help improve training and curricula on land governance in Africa and promote research focused on land issues. The results have made it possible to address critical issues relating to land tenures in West Africa, such as the protection of the rights of local populations in forestry in Burkina Faso, land conflicts in Mali, gender and land in Senegal, the geohistory of urban land governance in Côte d’Ivoire, and vulnerability and access to land in Diama.
The NELGA initiative is a welcome development for researchers in the field of land governance, as it provides a platform for young researchers to engage in research that contributes to the discourse on land governance in Africa. The program is designed to provide funding for research, as well as technical support and guidance to ensure that the research produced is of high quality and meets international standards.
The research studies funded by NELGA have already made significant contributions to the field of land governance in West Africa. For example, the study on the protection of the rights of local populations in forestry in Burkina Faso sheds light on the challenges local communities face in managing forest resources. The study identifies the need for greater participation of local communities in decision-making processes related to forest management, as well as the importance of recognizing and protecting the rights of local communities in forest management.
Similarly, the study on land conflicts in Mali highlights the country’s complexity of land tenure systems, particularly in the Kayes region, where descendants of former slaves and masters have competing claims to land. The study emphasizes the need for a more comprehensive approach to resolving land conflicts that consider the historical, social, and economic factors at play.
The study on gender and land in Senegal is another important contribution to the field, as it highlights the challenges faced by women in accessing and owning land, particularly in rural areas. The study identifies the need for greater efforts to promote gender equality in land governance, including recognising women’s rights to land and providing support for women to acquire and manage land.
The study on the geohistory of urban land governance in Côte d’Ivoire provides insights into the processes and factors that have contributed to urban sprawl in the city of Bouaké. The study emphasizes the importance of taking a long-term perspective on urban development and the need for effective urban planning and governance to ensure sustainable and equitable development.
Finally, the study on vulnerability and access to land at the level of the Commune of Diama identifies the factors that contribute to vulnerability and landlessness among communities in the region. The study highlights the importance of addressing structural inequalities in land governance, including the need for land tenure reforms and providing support for vulnerable communities to access and manage land.
Furthermore, the coordination of the scientific committee composed of Prof Ibrahima Diallo, Prof Amadou Kah, and Prof Samba Traores a testament to the quality and diversity of expertise involved in the initiative. This diversity of perspectives is essential in addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges faced by African countries in the field of land governance.
The research can be found here.
In conclusion, the NELGA initiative is a welcome development for young researchers in Africa’s land governance field. The program’s focus on promoting research, improving training and curricula, and building capacity is a step in the right direction towards addressing the complex challenges facing African countries in the field of land governance. The publication of the five articles on land in West Africa is a testament to the quality and relevance of the research produced under the NELGA initiative, and it is hoped that this initiative will continue to provide a platform for young researchers to engage in research that contributes to the discourse on land governance in Africa.