Regional Course to Tackle Land Redistribution

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Land redistribution, a highly political and development priority in southern Africa, will be on the agenda when participants from Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa meet in Pretoria for a course next week. The five-day conference on the theme, “Land Redistribution in Africa – Learning from experience”, aims at addressing issues of land redistribution, growth and poverty, institutions for sustainability, and the current scenario facing land redistribution. Namibia, which is under pressure to redistribute land to thousands of landless people, will be represented at the conference. In a bid to give land to those who need it, the government has implemented the wiling-buyer-willing-seller mechanism, expropriation as well as land tax. A delegation of four officials from the Namibia Agricultural Union, led by its president Raimar von Hase would attend the meeting, together with Olof Munjanu of the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU). The conference starts on Monday, March 13, 2006. The regional conference will bring together various groups of stakeholders and practitioners from the five countries to discuss land redistribution in Africa and to also review international experience from outside the continent. Building on previous courses delivered as part of a multi-year initiative on Land Issues in Africa, this course will focus on the dissemination of international experience from countries such as Brazil, India and the Philippines, local case studies and open discussions to focus on participant-led input. The main objective of the course is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between practitioners of land reform, after which participants will be able to identify benefits, weaknesses and complementarities of different land redistribution mechanisms and identify the different stakeholders involved in land reform, and their respective visions and roles. It also aims to give participants a better understanding of past successes and failures of land reform and also identify concrete suggestions for improving the implementation of land reform in their own countries. Grouped per country, participants will complete a work group project. Starting from the analysis of the present situation in their respective countries, it is expected that participants will produce a strategic document formulating the next steps to follow in the land redistribution process. The World Bank Regional Office, Southern African Regional Poverty Network and France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have organised the course. Among other things, the course will tackle the issue of importance of land redistribution; land redistribution mechanisms and their complementarity from land redistribution to sustainable growth; lessons from Asia; as well as land redistribution in Africa and progress to date.

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