Africa has agenda for land policy governance: AU

ADDIS ABABA; Africa stands apart from the rest of the world as the only continent which has defined her own agenda for land policy governance and development.

The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union (AU), Rhoda Tumusiime says this achievement came out of a collective response comprising various stakeholders.

She was speaking during the opening of a four-day conference on land policy in Africa on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Land Policy Initiative (LPI), in partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is hosting the event at the AU conference centre. It is taking place under the theme “The next decade of land policy in Africa: ensuring agricultural development and inclusive growth”.

“We have come a long way on the road to finding continent-wide solutions to the challenges of land tenure governance and tenure security, which adversely affect efforts towards the socio-economic development of the African continent,” she stated.

Among the many milestones in this regard are the Guiding Principles on Large-Scale Land-Based Investments (LSLBI), which was endorsed by the African Union Conference of Ministers responsible for Agriculture during their conference held here in April this year.

The importance of land to agricultural development in Africa is underlined by the fact that about 60 per cent of the population derives their livelihood and income from farming, livestock production, fisheries and aquaculture, agro-forestry and other agriculture-related activities.

Tumusiime suggested that good land governance in support of improved access to land and tenure security, especially for women and other hitherto marginalised groups, is critical in tackling some of the seemingly intractable challenges facing Africa.

These, amongst others, include low agricultural development, hunger and poverty.

“The agricultural value-chain championed by the private sector provides multiple entry points and pathways for advancing Africa’s transformation agenda toward sustainable development.

However, much more needs to be done to enhance the learning and sharing of practical solutions to tackle the remaining challenges in the land and agriculture sectors,” she added.

Representatives from AU member states, farmers’ and civil society organisations, research institutions and academia as well as land surveyors, mapping companies and donors are attending the conference, which ends on Friday.

The LPI was established by the AU Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2006 in recognition of the importance of land to Africa’s development.