According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures.
The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank.
The report suggests that Africa could finally realize the vast development promise of its land over the course of the next decade by:
– Championing reforms and investments to document all communal lands and prime lands that are individually owned.
– Regularizing tenure rights of squatters on public land in urban slums that are home to 60 percent of urban dwellers in Africa.
– Tackling the weak governance and corruption endemic to the land governance system in many African countries which often favor the status quo and harm the interests of poor people.
– Generating the political will of African governments to mobilize behind these land reforms and attract the political and financial buy-in of the international development community.
The World Bank believes that these action plans could help revolutionize agricultural production, end land grabbing, and eradicate extreme poverty in Africa.
The report noted that more than 90% of Africa’s rural land is undocumented, making it highly vulnerable to land grabbing and expropriation with poor compensation. But the report was quick to point out encouraging evidence in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda as these countries pilot some proper land reforms.
“Land governance issues need to be front and center in Africa to maintain and better its surging growth and achieve its development promise,” said Frank Byamugisha, author of the report and Lead Land Specialist in the World Bank’s Africa Region.
“Despite abundant land and mineral wealth, Africa remains poor,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.
According to Mr Diop, the status quo is “unacceptable” and must change so that all Africans can benefit from their land.
By Ekow Quandzie