Advocating for the most disadvantaged, equal access and ownership

The 2021 edition of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa began this Monday, 1 November in Kigali, Rwanda, launching a resounding appeal to African countries to develop land policies that specifically address the most disadvantaged and entitled to women Considering inclusive land tenure. and youth.

“We need a commitment at the national and regional level to ensure equity,” Rwanda’s Environment Minister Jean d’Arc Mujawamaria told delegates at the face-to-face hybrid event in Rwanda. She states that “everything related to the land requires strong political will, the support of the people and close cooperation”.

The minister explains how climate change increases the risk of deforestation and land degradation and requires innovation in the implementation of reforms and land services.

“We are also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she adds, “which has slowed the continent’s economic progress. Land is part of our collective history, and we must protect it for generations to come.”

The theme of this year’s conference is “Land Governance for Africa to Protect the Arts, Culture and Heritage We Want”. According to Agenda 2063, a theme in line with the African Union’s declaration of 2021 as “Of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Livers to Build the Africa We Want”.

Through a representative, Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President of the African Development Bank for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, made a strong case for access, equitable use and ownership to all members of the community, especially women and youth.

Presented by Rwanda’s Country Director, Aisa Sir Toure, Dunford said: “Land is a major component of food production and a major source of capital for the poor. Any program on land reform and women’s land rights in Africa should focus more on the importance of land and its unequal distribution between men and women.”

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“At the Bank we are very committed to this in the implementation of all our programs and our projects. We will continue to support our member states in the national vision and imperative of inclusive and sustainable development,” she adds.

Mama Keita, director of the sub-regional office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, East Africa, says that creatives can help make technical information on land reform more accessible.

“Information on land governance can be provided in the form of music, film, visual arts, news and animation, and presented in different African languages ​​for greater accessibility,” Keita says.

She adds: “Traditional institutions and other dispute resolution mechanisms are used along with statutory legislation to resolve disputes. But there is still much to be done”.

Ambassador Josefa Sacco, the African Union Commission’s Blue Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Economic and Sustainable Development, reminds participants that competition for land due to climate change is fueling conflict in Africa. Africa.

“In Southern Africa, the unresolved historical legacy of colonial land isolation outweighs the risks of social and political conflict. In recent years, increased purchases of African land by foreign companies and governments to grow food and other crops for export have led to an increase in Alarm bells have also been rung on and off the continent.

Sharing his country’s experience on land challenges and necessary innovations, Minister of Land Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sakombi Molando, said: “We have found that 80% of the cases brought before the courts and tribunals are land. We have resolved this situation. In two years, we have been able to draft new land policies, which will soon be submitted to the government for deliberation.

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The African Center on Land Policy, a collaborative project of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, hosts the African Land Policy Conference every two years. The said conference brings together African decision makers, academics, civil society leaders as well as the private sector and international agencies to discuss the future of land policy in Africa.

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