AfDB, AUC and UNECA to discuss land investment in Nairobi

Women farmers in DRC: Large-scale land acquisitions can result in local people losing access to their sovereign resources (Photo : Laudes Mbon/IRIN)
AfDB | 28 September 2011 | français

AfDB, AUC and UNECA to Discuss Land Investment in Nairobi

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will on 4 and 5 October 2011 in Nairobi (Kenya), co-organize a high level Forum on foreign direct investments in agricultural land in Africa.

Over the two days, the Forum participants will share information and experiences on foreign direct investment in land in Africa, develop an African perspective on land-based investments in Africa and; propose a framework of concrete interventions for the implementation of the AU declaration on land issues.

The Forum which is co-sponsored by CODA will bring together land experts, African Ministers in charge of land, traditional rulers, parliamentarians, representatives of CSOs, farmers' organizations, eminent personalities, women organizations, private sector practitioners, centers of excellences as well as development partners, to discuss issues relating the above-mentioned objectives.

According to a joint study by the FAO, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), since 2004 there has been nearly 2.5 million hectares worth of "approved land allocations" in just five African countries.

This fast evolving phenomenon creates opportunities, challenges and risks. Increased investment may bring macro-level benefits (GDP growth, increased government revenues) and create opportunities for raising local living standards. On the other hand, large-scale land acquisitions can result in local people losing access to their sovereign resources. It can also pose environmental risks, and result in biodiversity loss and social conflicts.

Consequently, the currently unfolding land investment story reflects deep global economic and social transformations, with profound implications for the future of Africa's agriculture.

An Action Plan to address this issue is expected from the Forum.

Conference on Land Policy in Africa

From: 04/10/2011
To: 05/10/2011
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Download the concept note (PDF 461kb)

The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) Consortium comprises the African Development Bank (AfDB), African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The LPI Secretariat spearheads stakeholder dialogue on land policy issues in Africa. Recent discussions have focused on the implications of the trend of increasing demand of farmlands across the continent by both foreign and local investors and on the need to explore and reach agreement and consensus on appropriate and concrete actions on how to address the issue of land based investments in the continent in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

To this effect, the LPI will convene a High Level Forum on Land-Based Foreign Direct Investments in Africa, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 4 to 5 October, 2011. The Forum will bring together a diversity of multi-disciplinary expertise from the continent and beyond, including experts from government agencies, regional economic communities, civil society organizations, private sector; traditional chiefs; eminent African personalities including former African Heads of State and Government; Parliamentarians, African Ministers in charge of Land Administration and Development Partners. Over 150 participants are expected.

The main objectives of the conference are to exchange experiences on Foreign Direct Investment in land (‘land grab’) in Africa and to propose specific interventions to expedite the implementation of the AU joint framework and guidelines on land policy. For the Bank, the Forum will also enable us to better define the Bank’s position on the land grab issue and also enable us identify potential pilot investment and knowledge management operations that can be supported by the Bank.

The event will be organised over two days with an Experts meeting on Day 1 followed by the Ministerial segment on Day 2. The experts meeting will serve to amplify the voice of African stakeholders and prepare concrete recommendations to be submitted to African policy makers. This day will be structured in plenary sessions and parallel sessions/side events. During the Plenary session, the presentations and discussions will cover the following topics:
  • What do we know today on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in land in Africa?;
  • The Kenya case study on FDI in land;
  • A Study on best practices related to FDI in land;
  • A Feasibility study on a fund to support national land policy initiatives;
  • A Presentation of the Africa Legal Support Facility;
  • A presentation of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure;
  • A presentation on Women Land Rights and FDI in land by Oxfam UK
Parallel sessions and side events will follow for Experts, Farmers organisations, other CSO (including women organisations) and the private sector to discuss the implications of the above-cited presentations for the respective stakeholders. Simultaneously, a site visit is planned to a current land deal scheme in Kenya will be organised for Ministers only.  

The Ministerial segment on Day 2 will include:
  • a presentation of experts recommendation;
  • brief Messages from selected stakeholders;
  • interventions of Ministers;
  • presentation of  the “Nairobi Action Plan” on FDI in Land in Africa.
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