African countries advised to improve land database – New Business Ethiopia

Michael Lipton, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Sussex and Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies advised Sub-Saharan Africa countries to improve their database on land in order to address land governance challenges.

“We have only handful of Sub-Sahara Africa countries with decent agricultural censuses – most of them quite old,” he said, speaking at the 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire on Monday November 25, 2019.

“The FAO [the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization] agricultural census is quite a good way of getting about measurement on what the distribution of land is now; who owns what and under what tenure. So I would say step number one in answering these questions – what was succeeded and what was failed is to get the database on land on Sub-Saharan Africa very much improved. This is not rocket science, but it doesn’t seem to get done,” said the professor who works on agricultural research, nutrition, land reform, demographic change, poverty and inequality.

As the population of Africa continues to grow, land ownership and related conflicts have been emerging in different parts of the continent. The issues related to the customary land governance and legal land policies and implementations problems have also been major concerns in many Africa countries.

Reports also show that some African governments’ allocations of huge farm land to foreign investors, which often described as land grabbing, has also been leading to internal displacements making the poor poorer.

The week-long meeting in Abidjan opens on Monday is expected to issue a call for action statement on the implementation of land related declarations agreed by the African Union member states in the past years.

The focus of this year conference is land related corruption under the theme, “Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation”.

Addressing the gathering on Monday representing the German Economic Cooperation (GIZ), one of the financiers of the conference, Benjamin Laag, Head of German Cooperation, stated that addressing land corruption is an important but sensitive topic and this conference has the courage to talk about it.

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