The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) launched its francophone West Africa Node in December 2018 at the University of Gaston Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal, in the presence of the Dean of the University and various delegations from West Africa.
The launch was followed by a weeklong learning exchange aimed at identifying common land governance challenges in West Africa and the role universities can pursue to address those challenges. An important dimension of the session was to prepare the new NELGA node to address challenges around land administration, transparency and women’s land rights in the region. This was achieved through joint learning and training-of-trainers on innovative concepts, tools and practices in land governance. One of the participants, Professor Moustapha Diop of Conakry University in Guinea stated ardently, “this learning exchange week is an important turning point to make land tenure security a reality in Africa”.
The launch and the learning exchange was hosted by the Université Gaston Berger and jointly presented by the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), NELGA, GIZ, UN-Habitat and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and attended by participants from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Guinee, Togo, Benin and Niger. The participants gained understanding and skills on innovative concepts, practices and tools in land governance and Fit-for-purpose administration, improving transparency and addressing gender-based land tenure disparities. The sessions included applying land tools such as Fit-for-Purpose Land administration, the Gender Evaluation Criteria and Transparency in Land Administration, in pursuit of securing land rights for all. The participants were very keen and showed great enthusiasm in designing and teaching a shared curriculum in responsible land administration.
The two major outcomes of the learning exchange were the identification of emerging challenges (such as land governance, transparency and corruption; urban and peri-urban expansion; protection of women’s land rights) in land governance in West Africa which deserve more attention and development of an agreed action plan for universities to contribute to land challenges in the region.
Established by ALPC in cooperation with German Cooperation, GIZ, the World Bank and other partners NELGA is a partnership of more than 50 leading African universities and research institutions with proven leadership in education, training and research on land governance. Its objectives are: enhancing training opportunities and curricula on land governance in Africa; promoting demand driven research on land policy issues; connecting scholars and researchers across Africa through academic networks; and creating data and information for monitoring and evaluation on land policy reforms.