An African conference debates youth role in land governance

The Second Conference on Land Policy in Africa was opened with a call to properly manage land to benefit current and future generations of Africa.

Topics covered by the speakers at the opening of the four-day conference, include: land planning and governance, land certification system, technology application for agriculture, conflict management, access to land for women and youth and environment management.

The Addis Ababa conference was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank and under the coordination of the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC).

Africa is in a hopeful state not only because of its youthfulness but also due to the widespread discovery of land based resources, highlighted Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist of ECA.

Mr. Hamdok explained that Africa is home to abundant natural resources accounting for at least 30 percent of the world's natural resource wealth. 12 percent of oil reserves, 40 percent of global gold reserves, 60 percent of uncultivated land and 70 percent of coltan deposits, from which electronic microchips are made.

The 420 million young people aged between 15-35 years can be gainfully involved in the exploitation of these resources especially through agriculture, manufacturing and industrial sectorsrdquo;, said Hamdok.

The theme of the conference is: The Africa We Want: Achieving socioeconomic transformation through inclusive and equitable access to land by the youth.rdquo;

Speaking on behalf of youth and women representative Ms. Rachael Mwikali said that the drive towards achieving the goals of African Union agenda on land was given additional boost in October 2016, when African Land Policy Centre was established.

This Centre will create linkages and partnerships to bridge the gap in technical assistance and funding and create continental and regional land platforms that enhance coordination in the land sectorrdquo;, she explained.

Participants at the conference underlined that land is central to livelihoods and sustainable development.

Without proper governance of natural resources, land included, it is very difficult to achieve sustainable and equitable growth, affirmed Gabriel Negatu, Director General of African Development Bank in Eastern Africa.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Eyasu Abraha Alle, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Ethiopia recalled that land is one of the major resources that we have in Africa that should properly managed and used for the benefit of current and future generations of our people.

The ongoing Conference on Land Policy in Africa is attended by government officials, academia, representatives of Regional Economic communities, African centers of excellence, civil society and private sector associations.

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).