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African lobby says improved land governance key to food security

(Xinhua)    08:57, September 15, 2020

NAIROBI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The ability of African countries to feed themselves amid climatic shocks and COVID-19 disruptions hinges on the establishment of robust and community-centered land tenure systems, a lobby group said on Monday.

Audace Kubwimana, the regional coordinator of International Land Coalition in Africa (ILC Africa), said that strengthening the land tenure systems in the continent is key to eradicate hunger and enhance response to climate change.

"For Africa, we want to be achieved, we must strategically address the burning issues of weak land tenure security for millions of smallholder farmers," Kubwimana said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said that desert locust invasion, perennial conflicts, outdated policies and climatic stresses had undermined efforts to transform the land tenure system in Africa.

The International Land Coalition in Africa has partnered with the African Union Commission (AUC) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to convene a forum on improving land governance in the continent.

Over 1,000 delegates including policymakers, scholars and campaigners will participate in the virtual Africa Land Forum 2020 to be held from September 15 to 17 whose theme will be delivering the continent's transformation agenda through people-centered land governance.

Kubwimana said that enactment of laws and policies that promote land governance in Africa is key to transform rural livelihoods amid economic downturn linked to COVID-19.

Janet Edeme, head, Rural Economy Division, AU's Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, said that regional and continental blocs should join hands to promote the land governance agenda as a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development.

"The 2020 Land Forum affords us the opportunity to assess how far we have come, and what needs to be adjusted so as to improve land governance in the continent, "said Edeme.

Esther Obaikol, a land governance expert at IGAD said that women and youth should be involved in efforts to strengthen land tenure in Africa in order to realize inclusive growth and cohesion.

"It is critical that the actors on the continent employ multiple pathways to gender equality agenda on land if we are to meet the targets set in the Agenda 2063," said Obaikol.

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