In September, Liberia passed the long-awaited Land Rights bill into law.
There is no doubt that land use and reforms are at the heart of Kenya’s political and economic future stability. In Kenya in particular, land has a central position in Kenya’s social, economic and political history. An estimated 75% of the country’s population depends on land for their livelihoods, making the ownership, management and control of the resource of great importance. Land is an enabler to support manufacturing, access to affordable and decent housing, universal health care, food security and nutrition.
On September 19, Liberian President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Land Rights Bill (LRB), a landmark piece of legislation that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to their customary lands and gives customary land the same standing as private land in Liberia.
In the fading afternoon light, Kou Berpa leads a small group out to a patch of land a short distance off of the main road in Ganta, Liberia.
The land is strewn with rocks and dried vegetation. The jagged remains of a tree stump consume one corner. It’s easy to miss the green shoots scattered across the grounds – the beginnings of a crop of corn that Kou has planted.
By Colleen O'Holleran
Over the past few decades there has been growing awareness of the need to strengthen land rights for women and men across the African continent. As a result, governments have come under growing pressure to improve laws, policies and institutions to guarantee Africa’s smallholder farmers secure land tenure.
Adding to the urgency of this call to action is the global land rush for farmland, which has raised concerns about large land-based investments displacing smallholders and pastoralists.