Expert panel calls for fair, efficient land management

Experts attending this year’s conference on Land Policy in African have called for fair and efficient land management to support moves to transform the continent.

The third edition of the conference on Land Policy in Africa, currently underway in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan is co-organized by the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.

Each speaker shared their thoughts on the challenges facing the land sector and shared knowledge on the fair and efficient management of the natural resource in African states. The panel comprised Angela Thoozile Didiza, South African Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform; Michael Lipton, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex; Bitange Ndemo, Professor at the University of Nairobi; and Ali Mufurui, founder and CEO of Infotech Investment Group.

Angela Didiza said: “It is simply essential that women have access to land. Clear policies must be put in place to ensure implementation of recommendations for land management.” In his remarks, Professor Lipton called for “a democratic approach” to avoid arbitrariness in land management and also protect the interests of landowners.

Bitange Ndemo underscored the need to adopt appropriate technology choices for efficient land management. “We cannot make small farms productive. That is why we need to find ways of turning them into large farms. We must decentralize the land-management system and clearly define what we need over the next ten years; that is the right way to improve the system.”

Ali Mufurui said, “We have aggravated the system by issuing land titles. Giving someone a piece of land with a land title is not the way to solve the problem; the real issue is what use it is put to. Land has a lifespan and we need to work on using it well to provide the maximum benefit to the entire community. The most urgent need now is to rethink this way of managing the land issue.”

The key theme for this year’s dialogue is: “Winning the Fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation”.