Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa | Land Portal
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Diane Tapimali,
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The scientific seminar on "Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa" builds on a series of activities already organized in preparation for the publication of a collective work (with the same title), thus demonstrating a continued commitment to research and promotion of more inclusive and democratic land governance. In light of the growing challenges related to inclusive land governance across Africa, AJEF launched a call for papers for a collective work in June 2023, with the aim of tackling these realities from different angles in order to better understand them and develop relevant solutions. However, as part of this process, the diverse scientific profile of the target audience (sociologists, geographers, lawyers, political scientists, etc.) required the creation of a platform for dialogue to share best practices in scientific writing in these disciplines, in order to strengthen the capacities of the subscribers and those of the scientific evaluation committee. To this end, a major capacity building webinar on scientific writing and publication (multidisciplinary approach) brought together experts and participants from several countries from June 28 to August 2, 2023. It was also an opportunity to publicize the call for papers and encourage young people to write/publish scientific papers on current land issues. After receiving the first drafts of about thirty articles, it was felt that there was a need to reopen the discussion between renowned experts and non-experts in order to produce quality information that would help consolidate the proposals and establish sustainable links between the various actors involved in land governance. The idea is to respond to this need by organizing an international colloquium following the international online seminar on land governance in Africa, the arguments for which are currently being developed.
This seminar will be an opportunity to deepen and consolidate the various issues raised in the initial contributions proposed for the collective work. Participants will have the opportunity to explore in depth the fundamental issues related to citizen participation in land governance, with a focus on the specific challenges faced in Africa. In-depth discussions will analyze the root causes of land problems, identify gaps in existing public policies, and formulate concrete proposals for effective reforms.
An essential aspect of this seminar is its commitment to promoting citizen participation. It aims to give a voice to citizens, whether experts or not, by encouraging them to express their opinions and formulate constructive proposals. Citizen participation is considered a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, ensuring that public policies meet the real needs of the population and promote the common good. By involving citizens in the decision-making process, it becomes possible to identify shortcomings in existing public policies and explore ways to improve them, ensuring that policies truly meet the expectations and aspirations of their beneficiaries.
The seminar will also serve as a prelude to an international symposium to be held later on the same topic. The symposium will bring together non-specialists, experts, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, providing a platform to share knowledge and experiences, and to discuss best practices in citizen participation in land governance. The proceedings of the symposium will contribute to the final development of the collective work, which aims to be an important reference in the field of land governance in Africa.

Seminar objectives

 The overall objective of the seminar is to promote citizen participation in land governance in Africa. In this regard, the specific objectives of the seminar are as follows:


Specific Objective 1: The seminar aims to provide a platform where citizens, whether experts or not, can express their opinions and formulate proposals regarding reform projects, public policies, and controversial subjects. The goal is to give a voice to policy beneficiaries and foster informed and inclusive participation.

Specific Objective 2: The seminar aims to highlight gaps and issues in existing land policies in Africa. By giving citizens a voice, it will identify dysfunctions and areas for improvement in public policies, with the aim of making them more effective and responsive to the real needs of populations.

Specific Objective 3: Through discussions and exchanges during the seminar, the objective is to formulate concrete proposals for effective land reforms in Africa. Drawing on the knowledge and contributions of different participants, the aim is to develop practical and achievable recommendations to improve land governance.

Specific Objective 4: The seminar will bring together researchers, experts, government representatives, and members of civil society to promote an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach. The goal is to facilitate fruitful exchanges among different stakeholders to strengthen the impact of the work and promote sustainable solutions tailored to African realities in land governance. Additionally, the seminar will serve as an opportunity to gather a corpus of ideas and reflections that can serve as a general framework for guiding discussions at the upcoming symposium.


Areas of reflection

The scientific seminar on the "Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa" will address several key areas of reflection aimed at deepening the understanding of land issues and exploring potential solutions. The main proposed axes of reflection are as follows:

  • In-depth diagnosis of weaknesses observed in land governance: This axis will focus on analyzing the legal and regulatory framework of land governance in Africa, examining existing laws, policies, and regulations. It will also involve a comprehensive assessment of current institutional, legislative, and sociocultural weaknesses in land governance in Africa, based on case studies. A thorough examination of current weaknesses will promote a better understanding of the specific challenges facing land systems in Africa, fostering common awareness and laying the foundation for informed discussion. Opportunities for legislative and regulatory reforms will also be explored.

  • Citizen participation and inclusion: This axis will emphasize the importance of citizen participation in land governance. Discussions will focus on existing participation mechanisms and how to strengthen them, with particular attention to the inclusion of marginalized groups and local communities. Innovative approaches to encourage the active participation of citizens, including women, youth, and indigenous peoples, will be examined.

  • Natural resource management and environmental conservation: This axis of reflection will address the relationship between land governance and the sustainable management of natural resources, including environmental protection and biodiversity preservation. Discussions will focus on land and natural resource management models that promote both economic development and environmental sustainability, highlighting best practices and lessons learned.

  • Technological innovation and land governance: This axis will explore the role of technological innovation, such as geographic information systems, blockchain-based land management systems, and data collection tools, in improving land governance. Discussions will focus on the potential benefits of these innovations, as well as the challenges related to their adoption and ethical use.

  • Resolution of land conflicts: This axis of reflection will address the challenges related to resolving land conflicts in Africa. Discussions will focus on existing dispute resolution mechanisms, with an emphasis on alternative approaches such as mediation and arbitration. The exchange of experiences and best practices in land conflict resolution will be encouraged.

  • Financing and investment in land governance: This axis will examine issues of financing and investment in land governance in Africa. Discussions will focus on strategies for mobilizing financial resources to support land reforms and rural development initiatives. Challenges related to accessing financing and innovative financing mechanisms will be explored.

Preparation for the international symposium: This seminar will lay the groundwork by identifying key issues, consolidating expertise, and facilitating constructive exchanges for the international symposium. The seminar is not limited to logistical preparation but aims to create momentum, raise essential questions, and foster active collaboration among participants. This will optimize discussions at the international symposium and maximize the overall impact of these events. The seminar will serve as a platform for refining key questions to be addressed at the international symposium. Participants will have the opportunity to formulate recommendations and suggestions to guide future debates.

Through an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach, this seminar aims to bring together different stakeholders from different backgrounds and disciplines. Researchers, experts, government representatives, members of civil society and local communities will have the opportunity to share their knowledge, exchange innovative ideas and build fruitful partnerships. This collaborative approach will strengthen the impact of the work done together and promote sustainable solutions tailored to African land governance realities.

 Speakers and participants

Main Speakers (African Experts)


  • Prof. Moha EL-AYACHI, Geomatic Sciences and Surveying Engineering (IAV Hassan II, Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine) (Morocco);

  • Prof. Heba Allah Khalil, Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, Cairo University. Architectural Engineering & Technology Program Senior Coordinator, Cairo Univ. Adjunct Professor, AUC. Urban Development Consultant (Egypt);

  • Prof. Salwa saidi, Associate Professor FST, Researcher at the Water Energy Environment laboratory, University of Tunis Manar. National School of Engineers of Sfax, Faculty of Sciences of Sfax (Tunisia)


  • Prof. Eugène CHIGBU, Associate Professor, Land Administration, Head of the Department of Land and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology (Namibia).


  • Prof. OURA KOUADJO Raphael, Lecturer, Alassane Ouattara University of Bouaké, Research Center for Development. Geographer (Ivory Coast);

  • Dr. Sani, MAMADOU ABDOU GAOH, Deputy Coordinator of the Agriculture Cluster of GIZ in Niger, Director of ProPFR-Niger, Responsible C2 PromAP (Niger)


  • Mrs RAKOTOBE Lydson Mamin’Ny Aina, Director of Land and Property, Ministry of Land Use Planning and Land Services (Madagascar);

  • Mrs Nanny WIECHERT, Head of Component Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa (SLGA) (Ethiopia);

  • Dr. Monica MHOJA, Outreach Director, Africa at Landesa, the University of Edinburgh, Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)


  • Prof. Moïse MOUPOU, Secretary General of the University of Dschang, Head of the Department of Ecole Normale Supérieur de Yaoundé, Geographer, Full Professor at the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon);

  • Prof. Paul TCHAWA, Geographer, Full Professor at the University of Yaoundé I, Coordinator NELGA-AC (Cameroon);

  • Prof. LEKA ESSOMBA Armand, Sociologist, Full Professor at the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon);

  • Prof. Michel BISA KIBOUL, Political Scientist, Full Professor at the University of Kinshasa (DRC)


Researchers, experts, government representatives, traditional leaders, NGOs, activists, and members of civil society.

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