(Published - 30 August 2018)
Land governance remains a challenge in Africa, where less than 10 percent of land is privately titled - but it is essential to providing security and a basis for economic activity in both rural and urban contexts.
That’s why the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) is spearheading the development of a new curriculum for a certified short course on The Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa.
The 7-day course is the first short course of the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA), and will bring together 30 participants from across the continent. It is tailored to policy-makers and practitioners who have responsibilities and expertise in this broad field, but require capacity building on the social, economic and political dimensions of land governance.
PLAAS has an impressive track record of policy engagement at the African Union, the Pan African Parliament, as well as in global fora like the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
“PLAAS is internationally recognised for our expertise in research, policy engagement and teaching on issues related to land and water rights, natural resources management, agro-food restructuring, land and agrarian reform and the social aspects of fisheries and ecosystem management,” says Professor Ruth Hall of PLAAS.
“This is the intellectual weight that we are offering.”
Full scholarships covering course fees, air travel and accommodation are available for land policy makers and practitioners who wish to enroll.
A Continent-Wide Curriculum
Some of the content of the short course will be generic, offering introductions to concepts and theory, and the global and African contexts of governance, while some elements will be regionally specific, engaging with diverse contexts and case studies, as well as national legal and policy frameworks.
The course will (among other things):
- address pre-colonial and colonial histories of land rights in Africa, and how these have produced diverse land tenure systems;
- review experiences of, lessons from and best practices in land policy and land law in Africa;
- address land administration, land corruption and land-based conflict;
- explore natural resource access and management; and,
- introduce participants to African and global land policy guidelines.
Finally, the course explores how policy-makers can draw on land policy frameworks to craft more robust land policy in support of broad-based development in Africa.
The first course will take place at UWC from 7-13 October 2018. Thereafter, the course will run twice per year at UWC’s partner institutions on the continent, including in Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and Morocco.
“UWC’s initiative is titled, ‘Building the Next Generation of African Experts in Land Governance’, and this is precisely what we intend to do,” says Prof Hall.
The course will include guest lectures from leading African scholars from Ghana, Namibia and Tanzania.
“We look forward to working with our colleagues at universities elsewhere on the continent as we take this work forward.”