Who owns the land? Only 10 per cent of Africa’s rural land registered.
Photo: © Ryan Kilpatrick

20.08.2013

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A new World Bank report looks at how African countries can end ‘land grabs,’ grow more food, and transform their development prospects

According to a new World Bank report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity”, released in July 2013, African countries and their communities could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade.

More than 90 per cent of Africa’s rural land is undocumented, making it highly vulnerable to land grabbing and expropriation with poor compensation. However, based on encouraging evidence from country pilots in African countries, the authors suggest an action plan that could help revolutionise agricultural production, end land grabbing, and eradicate extreme poverty in Africa.

How Africa could finally realise the vast development promise of its land over the course of the next decade:

Champion reforms and investments to document all communal lands and prime lands that are individually owned.

Regularise tenure rights of squatters on public land in urban slums that are home to 60 per cent of urban dwellers in Africa.

Tackle the weak governance and corruption endemic to the land governance system in many African countries which often favour the status quo and harm the interests of poor people.

Generate the political will of African governments to mobilise behind these land reforms and attract the political and financial buy-in of the international development community.

 

This would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, 4.5 billion US dollars spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments, according to the report.

 

The opportunities for change have never been better, say the authors.

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