Africa must involve young people and women in the agricultural and land-based decision-making chains
Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), November 27, 2019- at the 3rd Biennial Conference on Land Policies in Africa organised by the Africa Land Policy Centre, the International Land Coalition (ILC) in partnership with the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) held a side event that discussed how youth and gender inclusion in land governance processes could foster transparency and accountability in Africa.
The discussions featured a panel of land, women and youth experts, with extensive experience.
Tools to assess youth engagement in the land sector
Ombretta Tempra, Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat/Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) shared how involving women in decision-making processes could advance land governance. In her presentation, she first talked about why land matters for Africa’s youth and women and the challenges they face to access, own and control land. She particularly focused her intervention tools and approaches for securing land rights for youth and discussed the Land and Youth Responsiveness Criteria (LYRC), an instrument of the GLTN, which assesses the capacity of land tools, policies and projects to respond to the needs and concerns of young people in relation to land.
Omar Sylla, Leader, UN-Habitat/ Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) shared how other GLTN developed tools such as the Social Tenure Domain Model, the Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment Mechanism, the Global Land Indicator’s Initiative and Land-Based Financing are used to empower women and youth access to land.
Youth access to land is fundamental for African development
Sharing continental youth experience was Mr Ahmed Bening, Deputy Secretary-General of the Pan-African Youth Union, who discussed youth engagement in agriculture in the African Union 2063 Agenda. According to Mr Bening, African leaders must go beyond ensuring youth access to land and resources to creating enabling environments for effective land use. Though African leaders often urge young people to develop agriculture, many don’t have access to land and are often locked out of governance processes. Mr Bening’s plea to African governments is that they should admit young people in decision-making processes on land, because youth access to land can stop migration, reduce conflict and enable the development of rural agriculture.
From ILC, Dr Ibrahima KA shared two ILC developed tools and initiative that support women and youth inclusion to land. They include the ILC Africa Gender Justice Charter, the ILC commitment of inclusive decision-making processes and the Land Governance Monitoring tool, LANDex.
The side event also highlighted key facts worth mentioning. They include:
- According to recent UN projections, the continent is expected to double its population by 2050, from one billion people today to nearly 2.4 billion, with an exponential rate of urbanisation that has passed from 14% in 1950 to 40% in 2018 and if the trend continues, average projections show that the number of urban population in Africa will increase from 400 million in 2018 to 1.2 billion in 2050. This population structure is youth dominated. Half of the population is under 25, which raises the urgent question of the continent's ability to benefit from this demographic dividend, especially as youth is both an asset but also a threat. World Bank figures show that young people make up 60% of the unemployed in Africa. The continent’s growing youth population is a huge potential African leader must exploit;
- Agriculture is one of the solutions to explore as the agricultural sector can be a huge opportunity for job creation, directly and indirectly. However, constraints still exist to make agriculture play its role as a development ramp: access and control of land, access to credit, and so on; and
- Tools and approaches are developed to better integrate the issue of gender and youth into development policies.
At the end of the workshop, participants drew lessons and shared recommendations. Victoria Stanley, Senior Rural Development Specialist, World Bank saw the importance of “youth participation in decision-making in the agricultural and land sector." She held that Africa’s youth can help the continent achieve greatness if they have access to land and natural resources.
The session ended with a consensus that Africa needs to involve young people and women in the agricultural and land-based decision-making chains in order to reflect their specific aspirations.