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Land Redistribution: Towards a common vision
Regional course - Southern Africa

SARPN & World Bank

To register for the course, or for more information, write to or .

9-13 July 2007

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Over the last several years, the policy dialogue in Southern Africa around land redistribution issues has intensified, because there is a growing consensus on the role of a more equal land distribution for sustainable and pro-poor growth. At the same time, agreement is rarely seen on the overall vision for land and agrarian reform. Pronounced disagreements exist on the role of small-scale family farming in agricultural and overall economic growth, and the choice of the most appropriate land acquisition mechanism. Debates continue to rage about small versus large scale-farming and “willing-buyer, willing seller” mechanisms versus expropriation.

Those involved in implementation, however, would for the most part contend that no single land redistribution mechanism can be considered effective by itself, unless accompanied by a host of complementary measures, including strong participation by the major stakeholders, starting with the beneficiaries themselves. Unfortunately, donors continue to be reluctant to invest in land reform from a development perspective, because of its politically sensitive nature, on the one hand, and the lack of demonstrated impact, on the other.

Compared to other regions in the world, land redistribution in Southern Africa poses a particularly difficult challenge, because of the extent of land dispossession of the indigenous population by European settlers. At the same time, the economies in the region are characterized by stubbornly high unemployment rates. And events in Zimbabwe have once more highlighted the explosive nature of the land question.

Consequently, for both political and socio-economic reasons, Southern African governments are currently placing land reform programs higher on the development agenda than ever before. In this context, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recently established the Regional Land Reform Technical Support Facility with the mandate to support its Member States in formulating and implementing pro-poor land and agrarian reform policies and programs.

Course objectives

This course is one of the first so-called “kick-starting” activities and part of the capacity building component of the Facility’s program. The course also aims to contribute to the on-going Africa Land Policy initiative spearheaded by the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Development Bank (ADB). The course aspires to 1) facilitate an exchange of experience between SADC member countries and other countries that have implemented major redistributive land reforms (e.g. Brazil, China, India and Kenya); and 2) contribute to the development of a common vision of the way forward among practitioners and stakeholders of land reform.

Course organization & participation

Course organization

The course will be simultaneously held in Pretoria (South Africa) and Lilongwe (Malawi) from July 9-13, 2007. To enable participation of experts from outside Africa, it will include videoconferencing sessions during which Pretoria and Lilongwe will connect with other sites: Beijing (China), Brasilia (Brazil), Delhi (India) and Washington DC (USA).

Who can participate?

Target countries include: Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The target audience consists of representatives of the main categories of actors involved in the land redistribution process: 1) beneficiaries: leaders of community organizations involved in land redistribution; 2) government: senior policy makers and implementers of the relevant ministries dealing with finance, economic development, land, agricultural and local government; 3) current landowners and farmers wanting to get actively involved in the process; 4) facilitators, e.g. community-based organizations (CBOs) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs); and 5) development partners: staff of multilateral and bilateral development partners involved in land reform.

How to participate?

Participants from Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia will attend the course at the World Bank Country Office in Pretoria, South Africa. Participants from Malawi and Zimbabwe will participate from World Bank Country Office in Lilongwe, Malawi. The number of participants is limited to 30 per site. No participation fee will be charged and those who are interested in participating in this course are invited to contact the course organizers before June 25, 2007. Participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

Course overview

Monday, July 9th, 2007
Theory, history and outcomes of land reform

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Current programs for land reforms: Achievements & limits

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Land redistribution mechanisms and their complementarity

Thursday, July 12th, 2007
Building a national program for land redistribution

Friday, July 13th, 2007
The way forward


To apply or register to this course, please contact:

Sue Mbaya
Southern African Regional Poverty Network
PO Box 11615, Hatfield 0028, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)12 342-9499
Fax: +27 (0)12 342-5636

For any other inquiries regarding this course, please contact:

Stephen Nanthambwe
SADC Regional Land Reform Technical Support Facility
SADC Secretariat, Millennium Office Park,
Plot 116 Kgale View, P/bag 0095, Gaborone, Botswana
Tel: + 267 395-1863 ext 5093
Fax: + 267 392-4099

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