Africa’s development agenda linked to good land management, research

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Africa’s development agenda linked to good land management, research


Map

Map of Africa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

I am in this small, friendly and beautiful city of Windhoek. I was here at the end of 2017. Namibia is big and in size far bigger than Kenya. However, its population is much smaller. In 2017, it was around 2.4 million. Currently, projections put it at 2.6 million.

While Kenya’s population has grown by about 3.5 million within the five years, Namibia’s has grown by about 200,000 — useful comparative statistics for our demographic and economic planners. Our strong population growth continues to be a challenge to our economic growth. It is important that Kenya should keep an eye on the opportunities for cooperation that this relatively young democracy offers.

Let me return to my mission in Windhoek. Africa is currently working to deliver its Agenda 2063 through the African Union. Some components of this agenda are linked 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 Center revealed that the implementation of the African Union Declaration would be limited by insufficient technical capacity around the continent.

The study showed that while industry in Africa requires professionals and research informed by contemporary continental challenges and emerging issues, most higher education institutions 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, in collaboration with GIZ and other partners, embarked on an initiative to support universities in developing capacity for land policy development in Africa. This capacity will presumably help African Union member states to effectively implement the AU Declaration on Land and therefore gradually contribute to the realization of Africa’s development agenda.

This continental initiative aimed to establish a network of universities and other institutions of higher learning that train professionals in land management or conduct research in land management.

Subsequently, a Network of Excellence on Land Management in Africa (NELGA) was established and has expanded around some selected universities that have acted as coordinating hubs for the universities in their respective regions.

The meeting in Windhoek, which brings together top experts from industry, universities and educational institutions from the five regions of the continent, reviews progress to date and formulates plans for future growth.

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

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