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8 October 2018
UWC launches a new short course on The Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa.

(Published - 8 October 2018)

The University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) is hosting the first short course of the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA).

The course has been tailored to policy-makers and practitioners across the continent who have responsibilities and expertise in this broad field, but require capacity building on the social, economic and political dimensions of land governance.

At the start of the course on Monday, participants were addressed by UWC Rector and Vice Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius.

“This initiative is one that is close to my heart because the issue of land is one that has the potential to deeply divide or unite us as nations. You will know that land has recently resurfaced as an important subject of discussion in South Africa. Here, everyone has different views on land restitution and how to go about it,” Professor Pretorius said.

“We’ve been fortunate to have experts on this subject in the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, or PLAAS as it is known. Our researchers, particularly Profs Ruth Hall and Ben Cousins have contributed significantly to the debates. In addition, Prof Hall has recently been appointed to the President’s advisory panel of experts.”

The course is runs from Monday, 8 until Friday, 12 October 2018. Thereafter, it will run twice per year, at UWC’s partner institutions elsewhere on the continent, including in Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and Morocco. 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 address pre-colonial and colonial histories of land rights in Africa, and how these have produced diverse land tenure systems, where statutory and customary land rights are defined and governed under different legal and institutional frameworks. It will review experiences of, lessons from and best practices in land policy and land law in Africa. Land administration remains a challenge on a continent where less than 10 percent of land is privately titled. Land administration is essential to providing security and a basis for economic activity in both rural and urban contexts. The course will also address land corruption and land-based conflict. It will explore natural resource access and management, and the specific opportunities and challenges brought about by large-scale commercial investments in land and their implications for local people. Finally, the course will introduce participants to African and global land policy guidelines, and explore how policy-makers have, and can, draw on such frameworks to craft more robust land policy in support of broad-based development in Africa.

UWC is proud to be a key partner in the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA), a continent-wide network convened by the African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa and African Development Bank.

For more information, please contact Joy Lyner via email: