Africa’s development agenda tied to good land governance, research

Map of Africa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

I am in this small, friendly and beautiful city of Windhoek. I was last here in 2017. Namibia is vast and, in size, far larger than Kenya. However, its population is much smaller. In 2017, it was about 2.4 million. Currently, projections place it at 2.6 million.

While, within the five years, Kenya’s population has grown by approximately 3.5 million, Namibia’s has grown by about 200,000 —useful comparative statistics for our demographic and economic planners. Our sharp population growth remains a challenge to our economic growth. Importantly, Kenya should keep sight of the collaboration opportunities offered by this comparatively younger democracy.

Let me get back to my mission in Windhoek. Africa is currently working to deliver its Agenda 2063 through the African Union. Some components of this agenda are tied to the successful implementation of the continental agenda on land, which is based on the 2009 African Union Declaration on land.

Studies by the African Land Policy Centre revealed that the implementation of the African Union Declaration would be constrained by inadequate technical capacity around the continent.

The study showed that while the industry in Africa requires professionals and research informed by contemporary continental challenges and emerging issues, most institutions of higher learning on the continent continued to operate curricula designed to support the development of the pre-colonial and the young independent African States.

To close this gap, the African Land Policy Centre, working with GIZ and other partners, embarked on an initiative to support universities to develop capacity for land policy development in Africa. This capacity would, presumably, help African Union member states to effectively implement the AU Declaration on Land, and therefore gradually contribute to the realisation of Africa’s development agenda.

This continental initiative revolved around establishing a network of universities and other institutions of higher learning that train professionals in land governance or undertake research on land governance.

Subsequently, a network of excellence on land governance in Africa (NELGA) was established, and has been expanded around some select universities that have acted as coordinating nodes for the universities in their respective regions.

The meeting in Windhoek, which brings together top experts from industry, Universities and training institutions from the five regions of the continent, is reviewing the progress made hitherto, and formulating plans to guide future growth.

Kenyan universities that are home to schools and departments that train land professionals and are not yet members of this network need to quickly jump on board.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.