Lands gone with the African wind
“Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything”. What would Margaret Mitchell say about land grabbing? How would she describe the accumulated amount of land taken away from African hands? Would she acknowledge the African land grabs as lands “gone with the wind”?
While land-grabbing has been seen in different ways throughout history, it is today defined as a contentious issue of large-scale land acquisitions. Domestic and transnational companies, as well as governments and individuals can then buy or lease land. The phenomenon intensified subsequently of the 2007-2008 world food price crisis, as foreign agricultural investments dramatically rose on the African continent. At first seen as a positive way to develop new agricultural techniques, investment in land was then criticized by numerous actors from the civil society as well as governments for the various negative impacts it has on the local community.
Land-grabbing is a very well-known reality for African governments, as 70% of land grabs are concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. In response, they gathered in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), with Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) adopting the associated Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa in July 2003. Despite this association, marginalized groups gamble with their land rights, pushing for an urgent action of the African governments. Women are especially concerned by this phenomenon as agricultural production and preservation of land resources is primarily their responsibility. Land grabbing took advantage of an existing environment hostile to women’s land rights in Africa. The risks encountered by women are only a starting point for African governments. In a utopian world, the outcome of governments’ decisions and actions should eliminate the negative impacts of land grabs on women. Let’s make this more of a reality than land grabbing currently is.
Focusing on how to make land accessible again for the poor and women, our refresher course “Land-grabbing and the vulnerable-securing land for the poor and women in the peri-urban” will be held in Lusaka, Zambia. Land issues and solutions to stop abuses regarding land-grabbing will be discussed from the 15th to the 26th of May, 2017. Participants will receive extensive training on the policies and norms that promote land grabbing and prevent the vulnerable from accessing and securing land. The course objective is to disseminate the knowledge acquired and strategies developed on inclusive, gender sensitive, pro-poor policies and plans in a land seminar to all stakeholders.
This course is intended for NFP alumni from the following countries: Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. Alumni are allowed to invite colleagues, if well motivated and to a limited extent. The course is aimed at alumni whose current practice is related to the theme of the course, particularly in land governance, poverty alleviation, gender related issues, peri-urban small scale farming, land rights and security. Female participation is strongly encouraged. The participants will be chosen based on the quality and relevance of the motivation. To participate, apply before the 15th of March, 2017.
To find out more about the application procedure and requirements, have a look at this link.
We look forward to receiving your applications!
About the author: Fiona Rappin is a Marketing and Communication Intern at IHS. She is currently following a master in Political and Institutional Communication at Sciences Po Grenoble, France. She works with the Alumni Relations office and hopes to contribute to the work of IHS in capacity building as well as in making cities more sustainable and inclusive.