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Land policies in East Africa : Technological Innovations, Administration and Patrimonial stakes

November 3-4, 2011
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

This conference aims at promoting scientific exchanges involving researchers and stakeholders dealing with land issues. Participants will be invited to share their work and experiences in order to assess land strategies and policies within a comparative framework. This conference was initiated by Ugandan and French researchers from the Institute of Research for Development (IRD, France) and the University of Makerere (Kampala, Uganda). Many local and international researchers in East Africa have documented land-related issues and wider scientific exchanges are expected to stem from this meeting.

In a region where the majority of the population is rural and where the agricultural sector remains the first sector of the economy in terms of the population involved, the secure management of land is ranked as an economic and social priority with policy implications. East Africa and Madagascar comprise highlands with the highest rural population densities in Africa. At a time when State policies are reformulated, patrimonial strategies at the individual, family, social, national and international levels might appear somewhat contradictory. Access to land is negotiated at these different scales leading in some cases to conflicting land securing strategies. Land titles were introduced in Uganda over a century ago. The systematisation of legal land privatisation in the entire East African region aims at globalising access to land. The World Bank is financing the computerisation of land registries and land titles (Desilisor programme in Uganda run by IGN-France International at the Ministry of Lands). If the rapid modernisation of land management tools at the national level responds to the expectations of some of its users today, it opposes varied and somewhat contradictory conceptions of land tenure strongly rooted in past and modern structures of power.

Introduced in Uganda and Tanzania during the last decades, the idea of the systematic registration of land ownership is under discussion. New developments need to be studied in the light of the Kenyan case, where land privatisation was introduced from the late 1950s onwards in the densely populated rural highland areas. The Malagasy experience is also an interesting case study for comparative reasons. This conference will give us the opportunity to present research, to question different categories of social and economic actors and representations related to land. It will also be policy oriented, highlighting the specific role of the State in the control and formalisation of access to land and associated resources. Dealing with different countries in East Africa and the Indian Ocean (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Madagascar, etc.), a comparative perspective will enhance exchanges between researchers and open the discussion to other stakeholders and actors of the current changes.

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Publié le 19 octobre 2011