At a conference co-organised by ILC Africa, data collection reveals that land insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa stands at 26%, with Rwanda most secure at 8% and Burkina Faso lest secure at 44%
Data informed mainly by Prindex findings reveal a great deal of diversity on how secure people feel in their homes and on their land on the continent.
Nearly 1 in 4 adults (or 121 million people) feel insecure about their land or property rights in Africa, said the report.
Prindex Regional Coordinator for Africa and presenter of the findings Ibrahima Ka said that levels of insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa are higher than the global average, with a regional average of 26% for the 34 countries surveyed. “The region is also marked by a large range in insecurity rates, Rwanda being one of the lowest levels of insecurity worldwide with 8% and Burkina Faso among the highest with 44%.”
This conference was the result of ILC Africa’s growing partnership with Global Land Alliance, Prindex and IPAR. An array of panellists said the presentation of these findings on sub-Saharan Africa, followed by concrete action on using data to address land and property insecurity, would inform decision-making.
No need to reinvent the wheel; data collection requires collaboration
Both at global and regional levels, there is a strong need to focus on policy interventions to strengthen land and property rights and to learn from and build on the experiences of countries where we see particularly low or high rates of insecurity, such as in Rwanda (best practice to scale up) and Burkina Faso (high rates of insecurity that should be further explored and understood).
Audace Kubwimana, ILC Africa Regional Coordinator and the conference moderator, stressed the gravity of the data that the various actors have collected, linking it with the necessity to fight for secure land tenure in our countries.
“These findings call for a more serious action if we want to see more secure land rights and people-centred land governance in our countries. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that land inequality is mitigated,” Kubwimana said.
But data requires collaborative collection, therefore the need to connect government with civil societies.
“At IGAD we’re partnered with ILC Africa and we are breaking new grounds (…) to more solid work on people-centred land governance,” Esther Obaikol said. “We hope this data will inform that work as we focus on connecting government with civil society—creating the space for reforms to take place.”
The reasons behind this diversity include weak legal systems, overlapping statutory and customary regimes, poor enforcement, corruption, and land grabbing
Levels of insecurity also vary according to the type of tenure an individual holds: so those who own their property are much less insecure (15%), than renters (40%) or those who live in family-owned properties (20%).
At a country level, insecurity dynamics may differ across different parts of the country or between groups. Further deep-dive studies will be needed to understand these context-specific trends.
“We are looking at the human and institutional capacity assessment, ICT linked to infrastructure and data management,” said panellist Clement Adjorlolo of AUDA-NEPAD.
Promoting people-centred data requires greater collaboration among institutions and a symbiosis of tools. “LANDex does not want to reinvent the wheel. You’ll see that LANDex that I am presenting uses PRIndex and many of the other frameworks,” said Ward Anseeuw, senior technical specialist at ILC which led a new research “Uneven Ground” along with a group of partners including Oxfam and the World Inequality Lab.
Malcom Childress co-director of Prindex continued: “Constructs like the SDGs and the VGGTs are frameworks which seek to bring a global standard and global norms to bear on national processes. Indicators can be mechanisms for monitoring these in view of accountability for governments, citizens and organisations. We welcome the opportunity to develop collaborations.”
Young people are frequently the most insecure, especially those with basic levels of education or low incomes
The report said that Sub-Saharan African women’s land insecurity in the case of divorce or widowhood approaches nearly 48%, showing that in many cases land rights are taken away from them by male members of the family. The greatest difference between genders in this situation is seen in West Africa where 40% of men report insecurity in the case of divorce while 62% of women report insecurity.
Asked the question of how land security can be affected in the event of the death of a spouse, the women land rights manager at ILC Esther Muiru responded: “There is a co-relation between how marriages are structured in Africa and how land rights are held by women. Women access land and other assets through their husbands. When a marriage is dissolved, they have no control.”
Young people are frequently the most insecure, especially those with basic levels of education or low incomes in high-income countries. 29% of Sub-Saharan African young people aged 18-25 felt insecure compared to just 19% of people aged above 65.
The reasons behind this diversity include weak legal systems, overlapping statutory and customary regimes, poor enforcement, corruption, and land grabbing.