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Africa strives to empower women in land ownership

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th February 2015 04:53 PM

NATIONS within the eastern and central African region have backed the proposal to empower women on land ownership with the aim of boosting economic development.

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NATIONS within the eastern and central African region have backed the proposal to empower women on land ownership with the aim of boosting economic development.

By Paul Kiwuuwa

NATIONS within the eastern and central African region have backed the proposal to empower women on land ownership with the aim of boosting economic development.

 Uganda is hosting several African states which include Kenya, Tanzania Rwanda , Burundi, Malawi, Dijbuti, Namibia, Botswana, Ethiopia at Imperial Golf hotel Entebbe to share experiences over Land Policies Initiative (LPI) strategic plan.
 
The LPI initiative is a joint program of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union commission, African Development Bank and United Nations economic commission for Africa, with a purpose of  enabling the use of  land to spur development on the continent.

The programme is governed by a Steering Committee that meets periodically, while a joint secretariat implements day to day activities. The secretariat is assisted by an African Taskforce on Land.

It was established in 2006 with its headquarters in Addis Ababa   Ethiopia.  The proposers argue that women in most African countries provide 80% of the land users in terms of labor compared to men, yet they don’t own land or co-own it with the men, rendering them disadvantaged.

In his opening remarks at the launch of the of the LPI strategic plan, the permanent secretary lands and housing ministry in  a speech read by director land management Sarah Kulata said; "Women in Africa have weaker rights t to the land, they cultivate, besides they are denied land rights. This partly explains why Africa has higher rates of poverty."

"In many African rural communities, women still do not have access or control of land needed for production. Women benefit less from economic opportunities than men, because they don't own anything,” he said.

However, he added, the land policy in Uganda is reforming hence the need for more sensitization on the importance of empowering women with land as security for their families.
Only 8 to 16% of the families in Uganda's rural areas have registered their wives as co-owners of land titles with their husbands.

The Chief of LPI of  Kenya, Joan Kagwanja told the participants  that other African countries can learn from Uganda where its land policy has been improved and has registered some land  cases where in some of the families women and men co own land.

“This strengthens the family ties and acts as a security link for the children, " he said.

 Kagwanja explained after the meeting of ministers responsible for Land in April 2009 they formed a tool for land policy development, implementation and monitoring in Africa.
She added; "A declaration on land issues and challenges in Africa in July 2009 committed us to providing leadership and allocating adequate resources and funds for the improvement of land governance, so that we transform Africa's economies."

Kagwanja further pointed out; “It is time for African countries to learn from one another because they face similar problems and challenges which require Africans to dialogue."

Program manager, gender affairs at IGAD Secretariat Djibouti, Mubarak Mabuya said that the private sector involvement is often discouraged by the high transaction costs involved in acquiring land.

He explained that  Insecure land rights discourage investments in technology and other innovations needed for increasing productivity and enhancing value chain development critical to increasing competitiveness, industrial growth, diversification and trade."

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Africa strives to empower women on land ownership

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