Source: Small Island Developing States
Despite having “60% of the world’s unused land,” the African continent is the “hungriest,” spending over US$35 billion annually in food imports. In tandem with the African Union’s designation of 2018 as the ‘Anti-Corruption Year,’ the 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) convened under the theme, ‘Winning the Fight Against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathways for Africa’s Transformation,’ and explored how to harness Africa’s vast resources to achieve food security and inclusive development.
Held from 25-29 November 2019 in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, the conference aimed to deepen capacity among African land stakeholders through improved access to knowledge and information on land policy development and implementation. Discussions explored, among other issues, how to deploy more financial and human resources, and harness technological advances in agriculture, as well as in geospatial sciences and other relevant land sectors, to counter corruption in the land sector, “especially in rural areas and among the most vulnerable.”
While noting the importance of securing land rights for all citizens, as provided for in the 2009 Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa, various speakers cautioned that efforts to improve land tenure security by providing land titles to all must be linked to exploring innovative solutions to promote land consolidation and optimization to address the growing problem of sub-division of family and communal land into economically unproductive units.
Diverse stakeholders, including traditional leaders, civil society representatives, and academic institutions, made commitments to explore concrete solutions to such challenges, including through the review of cultural practices and beliefs that prevent women’s access to land. Traditional leaders further highlighted the need to fight corruption within the ranks of their traditional institutions, including through closer collaboration with government and land administration institutions.
In their call for action, civil society organizations pledged to continue to serve as watchdogs, enhancing transparency and accountability by profiling corruption cases and documenting their impacts.
The third edition of the biennial conference, CLPA 2019 was organized by the Land Policy Centre, a joint initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). [ECA Press Release on CLPA 2019 Expert Panel] [ECA Press Release on CLPA 2019 Outcomes]