Land matters in Africa

Land is not only a controversial issue in certain parts of the continent, such as West Africa, (Togo) where land expropriation is a hot topic; it is also a crucial tool to unlock economic potential in West-Africa. It is one of the main topics for discussion at Africa Development Week every year, which must be underway in any nation of Africa. Land is central to boost productivity, alleviate poverty and eradicate hunger, and everyone is looking for solutions to the current problems hindering agricultural growth on the continent. What are your ideas for this matter?

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We have recently developed a means to facilitate large scale agricultural investment in Nigeria predicated on minimising displacement, reducing compensation and administrative overheads and forging stronger contracts between the community and the investor through contract farming rather than the more usual investor/state land grab scenario. The model is fully formed and incorporates the principles of the vggt, RAI etc whereby community engagement and participation is a key precursor to identifying and securing rights. Investors build a strong social compact with communities in pursuit of a harmonious working relationship. No new laws are required but the contractual frameworks are admittedly more complex. Luckily the French AFD offer very useful checklists in this regard. Despite the apparent solution, which complies with all relevant laws and seeks to improve livelihoods and empower women, funds for implementation remain a critical weakness. Improving small scale agricultural production towards commercial levels of yield and quality should be an easy solution yet, despite commitments to responsible and inclusive growth from all donors, few projects seem to be available that will commercialise production to lift rural communities out of poverty. Can any of our contributors recommend alternative sources of funding, such as venture capitalists, that may be interested in developing some small scale projects to embed community right registration, improved contractual frameworks, better oversight and grievance redress systems and corporate social responsibility provisions to aid healthcare and education provision? States and investors are interested but need some hand holding in the interim to refine processes. Regards Andrew Smith PHFGlobal.com

All most every country in Africa have issue on land especially community land, some elite from communities that still occupy community land are using the ignorance of community members to enrich themselves. It sad that some countries have no legislation and proper frame work to private acquisition or individual ownership of land. Food security is paramount for sustainable economic development of any Nation which is not the case for African countries.


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