(Ecofin Agency) - A study by the German organization MISEREOR found that Africa stands out as the continent most targeted by large-scale land acquisitions. As land issues play a crucial role in the continent's development, they take center stage at the CLPA 2023.
The fifth edition of the Conference on Land Policies in Africa (CLPA) commenced on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The opening ceremony saw the presence of notable figures such as Hans Lundquist, Sweden's ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Judith Nabakooba, Uganda's Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, and Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary of the ECA.
Jointly organized by the ECA, the AU Commission, and the AfDB, the conference brings together leaders, experts, traditional authorities, and other non-state actors over four days under the theme "Promoting sustainable land governance in Africa to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area." The event adopts a hybrid format, combining physical participation and virtual sessions.
According to organizers, the goal of CLPA 2023 is to strengthen commitment and enhance capacities for the development, implementation, and monitoring of land policies in Africa. The program includes around sixty sessions, masterclasses, and presentations covering various themes, such as inclusive land governance for improved intra-African trade and food security, the use of geospatial data and digitization technologies for land administration and trade.
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment at the AU Commission, underscored the importance of constructive dialog among all stakeholders, sharing best practices, and collectively shaping a sustainable path for land governance. The decisions and commitments made in this conference, she emphasized, will extend beyond the event and significantly impact the livelihoods of millions of Africans.
Land issues, considered sensitive in several African states, spark debates and discussions across the continent. While improved land governance has the potential to unlock various economic sectors (agriculture, natural resources, infrastructure, urban development, etc.) and facilitate the continent's development, African countries still struggle to address the challenges associated with this issue. Despite regional initiatives and reforms in some nations, the efforts are yet to yield substantial results.