Improving land governance through the meaningful inclusion of Africa’s youth will address challenges, like low agricultural productivity, confronting the continent, said the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Addressing delegates at a conference on land policy in Africa Collen Kelapile, UNECA Chief of Staff, said Africa’s youth holds the greatest potential to enhance agricultural productivity.
“Our continent will continue to drag behind if the tremendous potential of the youth is not harnessed and mainstreamed into decision-making and development programmes. There is, therefore, the urgency to deal with challenges of land governance and turn them into opportunities,” said Kelapile.
The land conference was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was attended by 490 participants from 50 countries. It was a joint initiative between UNECA and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The conference was themed: “The Africa we want: Achieving socioeconomic transformation through inclusive and equitable access to land by the youth”.
Topics addressed by the conference included the need to strengthen land governance and administrative institutions both at local and national levels, as well as the empowerment of youth through strengthening their land rights, and women’s land access rights and gender equality.
Kelapile said added that the gross domestic product of many countries would go up if appropriate opportunities are provided for the youth in particular.
“The entire value chain in agriculture offers the biggest opportunity for doing this. Without adequate access to land and secured tenure, this dream will be a mirage. The challenges are there, but so too are the opportunities and the benefits which outweigh the challenges. Together we can go far,” he said.