Media critical in capturing African land issues

 

The media can play a critical role in capturing land management issues and social equality concerns in the continent’s pursuit of fair land policies.

Land expert and media trainer Kimani Njogu said this on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a day-long training for journalists on land policy in Africa

The training is a side-event of the African Land Conference which runs from November 14 to 17 organised by the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC).

Girma: Gender equity is essential

He said the media needs to unpack issues involving land governance so that the resource can benefit all people on the continent.

“Land management is the process by which decisions are made regarding access to and use of land, the manner in which those decisions are implemented and the way that conflicting interests in land are reconciled,” he explained.

Njogu said as of 2016, Africa had a population of 1.2 billion, with over 60 percent below the age of 25 having no access to land.

He urged the media to report responsibly and sensitively on land-related conflicts.

World Bank Africa Region lead land specialist Frank Byamugisha said 60 percent of surplus arable land is in Africa, which is a huge opportunity for the continent if the resource is well utilised.

In her presentation, land tenure and gender specialist at Land Policy Initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) Hirut Girma, highlighted that gender equity is also essential to sustainable land use in Africa.

She said women are primary producers yet are routinely denied land rights.

“It is essential that we recognise that women are change agents with regard to land use and management,” she said.

The African Land Conference is being held under the theme ‘The Africa We Want: Achieving socioeconomic transformation through inclusive and equitable access to land by the youth’. n

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