AU-UNECA and AfDB: Establishing a Knowledge Sharing Community of Practice on Land Policy

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In today’s knowledge-driven economies, government and business depend largely on secure land policy to function efficiently. How can land policy play a more strategic role in Africa’s development in the face of threatening events political crises and conflicts? The Bank Group, on 18 and 19 May in Tunis, hosted a joint AU-UNECA and AfDB workshop on knowledge sharing community of practice (CoP) to improve networking, lesson learning and experience sharing on land policy in Africa. The workshop brought together experts from the three institutions, as well as representatives of Regional Economic Communities and civil society organizations.

In his opening remarks, Agriculture and Agro-Industry department Acting Director, Abdirahman Beileh stressed that agricultural transformation required strengthening land rights for small farmers, improving access to land for women and easing the barriers to land transactions. “For the AfDB, agriculture is a driver of economic growth and poverty reduction… Without productive agriculture, Africa will not be able to meet the challengs of feeding its rapidly increasing population,” he said.

The meeting ended with key initiatives for the way forward, including: (i) LPI secretariat working to launch the Knowledge Sharing Community of Practice very soon; Developing a database of African land experts and a database of land-related information; Establishing an electronic platform to foster exchange of information and e-discussions on burning issues on the continent; (iv) convening regional and continental forums on Foreign Direct Investments in land in Africa. Meanwhile, the LPI secretariat will focus on capacity building, training sessions on land policy and training of trainers.

The joint AUC- ECA- AfDB Land Policy Initiative (LPI) has been developed since 2006, to consider the importance of land in African development but also of poor level of land tenure security. Land-related disputes tend to propagate throughout the continent, in spite of efforts developed by individual countries to review and revise their national land legislations.

Since the launching of this initiative, AfDB has been one of the most active members of the LPI consortium. It has participated in providing strategic leadership to the implementation process of the LPI roadmap and in monitoring implementation activities. AfDB has provided technical assistance to the process through recruitment of land experts to work in the Secretariat and participate in the development of the F&G.  AfDB has also funded regional experts to prepare some of the regional assessment studies and regional multi-stakeholders consultations. The Bank is still actively participating in the meeting of the LPI Steering committee and assisting supporting the effective implementation of the Declaration of African Heads of State and Government, UNECA’s Land expert, Hubert Ouédraogo, explained.