Central Africa

Land access, land acquisitions and rural development: New challenges, new opportunities

The Regional  Development Briefing in Central Africa on “Land access, land acquisitions and rural development: New challenges, new opportunities” was held in Yaoundé, Cameroun on 27-28th September 2010. It discussed the links betweenproperty rightsinvestment and economic opportunities in rural areas: Policy and Governance on Land and Forests Resources; the Land acquisition and its contribution to development and the Promotion of responsible agricultural transnational investments.

Monday 27th September 2010

Introductory remarks: Elisabeth Atangana, President, Regional Platform of Central African Farmers Organization, (PROPAC); H.E. M. Mateus Paula, Head of EU Delegation in Cameroun;  Isolina Boto, Head, CTA Brussels Office; Mr the Vice-Prime Minister, in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cameroun

Context and objectives of the meeting: Isolina Boto, Head, CTA Brussels Office

Panel 1 – Land Tenure and Rural Development: Key Issues

Chair : Isolina Boto, Head, CTA Brussels Office
This session looked at the links between property rights, investment and economic opportunities in rural areas. It examined the correlation between inequality in land allocation and economic growth, improved livelihoods and food security. A wide range of approaches to strengthen land rights is emerging and it was useful to share its lessons for governments, civil society and actors involved in land issues.


-Large-scale land acquisitions and leases: A set of core principles and Measures to address the human rights challenge, Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, [Video]

-Land policies, agricultural investments, responsible land governance and rural development: old and new challenges, Paul Mathieu, senior expert senior on land issues, FAO, [Executive summary], [Presentation], [Video]

-The challenges on land tenure and land policy in Africa, Patrice Mezui, CEEAC, African Development Bank (ADB), [Presentation], [Video]

-Changes in land use practices in areas of Savanna in Central Africa, Pabamé Sougnabé [Execuitve summary] (Chad), Bernard Gonne (Cameroun), Félix Ngana(Centrafrica), [Presentation], [Video]

Panel 2 – Policy and Governance on Land and Forest Resources

Chair : Elisabeth Atangana, President, PROPAC
The security of land rights are now recognized by most African governments as an essential element for achieving peace, stability and economic growth. African governments must take the initiative in policy and land reform while donors should support this process . In many places, the issuance of title deeds and registration of land can be much less important than strengthening local institutions through the provision of responsibilities in managing land rights and disputes. The recent decentralization of governments has helped to bring management of land rights closer to field . The private sector has also a key role to play.


- Delineation and Forest Conservation in Central Africa, the case of the Support Programme for the Congo Basin Ecosystems Conservation Support Programme (PACEBCo), Patrice Mezui, CEEAC, African Development Bank (ADB), [Executive summary] [Presentation], [Video]

-Investing in Biofuels and land governance in Central Africa, Sourakata Bangoura,Regional Office for Central Africa, FAO, [Presentation]

-Strengthening land rights of small scale farmers in areas of conflict, Thierry M. Musole, Director General, Help and Protection for Peace, DRC, [Executive summary] [Presentation]

-Equitable access to land and rights of indigenous people, Dr. Ralf Leonhard, Land Expert, FIAN [Executive summary], [Video]

-Alliances between community management and national policies to protect biodiversity, Hon. Blodeau Talatala, Member of Parliament, coordinator UNGC/REPADER, Cameroon, [Presentation]

-Land issues in Rwanda, DRC and Burundi: involvement of civil society, Aurore Mansion, Expert, [Executive summary] Environment and family agriculture, GRET,Prime Rupiya, ACCORD Burundi, Kambale Malembe, Forum amis de la terre, [Presentation]

Tuesday 28th September 2010

Panel 3 – Land acquisition and its contribution to development

Chair : Jozias Blok, Expert Land, European Commission, DG Development
What do we know about land acquisitions? What is their scale and which are the main countries affected? Which are the drivers of the phenomenon? The recent world trends suggest that a massive rise of commercial interest on natural and land resources is occurring. In many countries, this brings an unprecedented pressure on the natural resources and new tensions on the land tenure systems. On the other side, could those investments represent an opportunity to revitalize the agricultural sector of some ACP countries, especially in Central Africa?  Which kinds of investments can promote the financing of the development of local enterprises?


- Large-scale land acquisitions to invest in agriculture: trends and key issues, Harris Selod, Senior Economist, Rural Development Group, World Bank, [Presentation] [Executive summary], [Video]

-How to structure agricultural investments: possible types of agreements favorable to small-scale farmers, Lorenzo Cotula, Senior Researcher, Law and Sustainable Development IIED, United Kingdom, [Presentation], [Video]

-Mondi Inclusive Sale and leaseback empowerment model: ensuring inclusion of smallholders, Hlongwane Thobekile, Land Manager, Mondi Central and South Africa Division, [Execuutive summary], [Video]

-Governance of large scale investments in agriculture, case study of the DRC, Augustin Mpoyi Mbunga, Directeur exécutif, CODELT, RDC, [Presentation], [Video]

-Policy frameworks, Land Tenure issues and farmers rampant claims in West and Centre Africa: ICRAF’s experience on assessment methods in forested ecosystems,Serge Ngendakumana, Researcher, Agroforestry and Climate Change, World Agroforestry Centre [Executive summary] [Presentation], [Video]

-How to reconcile investments and local development: the case of jatropha cultivation,Christian Prétot, Président directeur général,  Neo Ecology Oil (NEO), France, [Presentation]

Panel 4 – Promotion of responsible agricultural transnational investments

Chair : Gilles Chausse,  Director of AFD in Cameroun
The idea of an international code of conduct for land acquisitions has been discussed by many organizations and governments. In June 2009, the United Nations proposed a series of human rights based principles and measures for large-scale transnational land acquisitions and leases. They aim to help investors and governments of hosting countries in the negotiations and implementation of large-scale land leases and acquisition in a favorable way for the population, and the most vulnerable groups. A multilateral approach could avoid the risk of countries competing to get foreign direct investments and lowering their conditions.


-ACP-EU Approach to Land and EU WG on land, Isolina Boto, CTA, Jozias Blok, Land Expert, EC, Chair of the EU Working Group on Land

-Ethical rules on investments Reflections on common principles on large-scale land acquisition, Paul Mathieu, FAO; [Executive summary] Harris Selod, Senior Economist, Rural Development Group, World Bank [Executive summary]

-Perspective from France on large scale acquisition of agricultural land, Lionel Vignacq, [Presentation] French Ministry of Foreign Affairs;  Mathieu Perdriault, AGTER 

-Widening the dialogue on responsible agricultural transnational investments , André Tioro, Land Expert, ROPPA, Mike Taylor, Manager, International Land Coalition (ILC)

-Challenges posed by large-scale land acquisition: perspective from GRAIN, Devlin Kuyek, Researcher, GRAIN [Executive summary] [Presentation]

- Experiences from the producers and civil society in the various African regions PROPAC, André Tioro, ROPPA, Cesarie Kantarama, EAFF

-Private sector interaction with the local communities: the case of Biofuels, Meghan Sapp, Managing Director HG Consulting.eu BVBA, Spain [Presentation]


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