News and Events

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.

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.

Continuity, despite COVID-19: NELGA is strengthening its network and boosting its outreach


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.

Doing research

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)

Webinar on the Analysis of Land Governance in Côte d’Ivoire between 2016 and 2020.

English: The research team led by Professor Moha El-ayachi and Mr Kamal Benaddou of ETAFAT is undertaking in collaboration with Professor Ibrahima Diallo, Coordinator NELGA Francophone West Africa, a study on the framework for the analysis of land governance by the LGAF tool in Côte d’Ivoire on 26th June 2020 at 10:30 am. The Webinar will be an opportunity to share and clarify the frame for analyzing land governance using the LGAF tool.  

French: Dans le cadre des activités de recherche conduite à l’Institut agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II de Rabat au Maroc sur les politiques foncières et les indicateurs d’évaluation de la gouvernance foncière, l’équipe de recherche dirigée par le professeur Moha El-ayachi et monsieur Kamal Benaddou de l’ETAFAT entreprend en collaboration avec le Professeur Ibrahima Diallo, Coordonnateur NELGA Afrique de l’Ouest Francophone, une étude sur le cadre d’analyse de la gouvernance foncière par l’outil LGAF en côte d’Ivoire le 26 juin 2020 à partir de 10h30.