Workshop on land issues in Africa begins

Mr Benito Owusu Bio(fifth from right) with the participants

Mr Benito Owusu Bio(fifth from right) with the participants

African Land Commissioners from 12 countries have begun a three-day workshop in Accra, to brainstorm on efficient use of land resources on the continent.

The event jointly organised by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a non-governmental organisation, (NGO) the land policy initiative of the African Union and the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources would also afford participants the opportunity to address crucial issues regarding land reforms, in order to agree on key challenges and the way forward.

Issues to be discussed include recognition of customary land rights in Africa, community land right in Africa, regional frame work and policies, land commissions, rules and responsibilities, legal and other strategies to record community land rights.

They are from Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Liberia, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Iviore, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Madagascar.

The RRI is a global coalition of organisations working to encourage forest land tenure and policy reforms and the transformation of the forest economy through local development, agenda and support livelihoods.

It consists of thematic experts with more than 140 collaborators, organisations and 13 partners directly engaged in land and forest policy reforms in 17 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Deputy Minister for lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu Bio on behalf of the sector minister commended the organisers for adopting measures to ensure the efficient, equitable and transparent management of land and its resources on the continent.

This he said would give recognition to the critical fundamental role land plays in the economies of developing countries.

Mr Bio stated that the inequalities in land ownership in Africa with women as the majority constrained by customary laws have resulted in the degradation of virgin forests and wet lands with its resultant rise in urban slums.

He bemoaned the complex nature of land distribution and urged for comprehensive policies to guide access, utilisation and management of land resources.

Dr Solange Bandiaky- Badji said the collective work at the regional level is very important as it continues to share information on land reforms.

She stated that large tracts of national land in the Sub-Saharan Africa are held under customary or traditional form which makes it a disincentive to fair and equitable distribution.

Dr Bendiaky urged the participants to commit to the process of the all land policy by fostering greater support for each other’s collaboration.

The Head of Rural Division of the AU Commission, Ms Janet Edeme said the commission has since 2006 adopted measures to address issues of land confronting the continent as part of the heart beat of its development agenda.

By Lawrence Vomafa Akpalu and Joyceline Natally Cudjoe


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