Speech by Dr. Benjamin Laag, Head of Cooperation of the German Embassy In Côte d’Ivoire at the Conference on Land Policy in Africa | Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data

Africa is a rich continent. It has vast agricultural and land resources and thus the potential to feed all people living on the continent. We observe technological improvements in agriculture, as well as in geospatial sciences and other relevant land sectors. Thus, the tools are available to implement policies to ensure fair and sustainable land policy in every country. However, there is still a considerable gap in what is proven to work and what is implemented in many countries. One of the main reasons for this gap is corruption on land management and governance often linked to the distribution and registration of agricultural and urban land. That is why good land governance, as well as effective land administration and sustainable land management are imperative.

Given the importance of this topic as per its impact in so many areas of everyday, we are especially grateful that this year´s theme of the “Conference on Land Policy in Africa” is: “Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation”.

During the previous years scientific data on the influence of corruption on the development on land rights, land use and related topics was still lacking. But thanks to activities of the African Union – for example by declaring 2018 as the Anti-Corruption year – and numerous efforts of many African countries to fight corruption, we are one step ahead today.

The German government has been supporting these efforts for many years by addressing land corruption in its bilateral and global programs on land and by supporting transparency initiatives such as the Land Matrix and Land Portal as well as financing Transparency International’s program on “Land and Corruption in Africa”.

This conference shows that data and research on the linkages between land and corruption is now available and I am personally looking forward to hearing from the participants presenting their findings and to following the fruitful discussions. It also shows, that talking about land and corruption is no longer a taboo. Addressing land corruption is an important but sensitive topic and this conference will be a valuable contribution to this conversation.

A variety of sessions in this conference also reflect other topics that are crucial for the development of the African continent such as: land rights of women, rural youth employment, mitigation of land conflicts and climate change.

I am confident that the exchange between experts, researchers and policy makers that is facilitated through this conference offers a great opportunity for land policies to emerge worldwide and notably here in Africa. And better land policies with secure land tenure for men and women are one of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We need African solutions to African challenges. And in this regard Germany does appreciate the considerable effort that the African Union is making - through the African Land Policy Center and other AU institutions - to promote and implement the African Union agenda on land management and governance.

Germany is and will deliver on its shared responsibility for the development of the African continent. We are proud to be a partner of this endeavor.

I wish all of you an insightful conference, fruitful discussions, new ideas and strengthened partnerships for development.

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