East Africa

Date of publication
March 2016
Geographical focus

Application of Geomatics for Mapping Land and Natural Resource Use and Rights: A Case Study of IFAD Programmes in East and Southern Africa

Date of publication
March 2016
Geographical focus

Application of Geomatics for Mapping Land and Natural Resource Use and Rights: A Case Study of IFAD Programmes in East and Southern Africa

Date of publication
February 2011

 This Synthesis Report is a synopsis of the outcomes of the regional assessment reports, which were based on studies and subsequent consultations in five regions of Africa. These reports show that some land related issues are common to all regions in the continent while others are region specific. Issues common to the whole continent are those related to: state sovereignty over land; legal pluralism; gender biases in access to land; land tenure security; and land and conflicts. A snapshot of region-specific issues shows that: migration and regional integration challenges are currently more prominent in West Africa; Island States seem to focus more on environmental issues and impacts of climate change on land; Southern Africa gives specific interest to unequal distribution of land; Central Africa focuses on the issue of land and natural resources including forests and on land rights for indigenous people; in Eastern Africa, countries have been scrambling for a long time to attract foreign private investment into sectors like tourism and mining, with effects on the customary based land rights of local communities, including pastoral communities; and in Northern Africa there are specific concerns regarding land fragmentation and water rights.

The regional assessments and consultations also identified some important emerging issues that need to be addressed by land policies in the continent. These are issues such as land markets and foreign direct investments (including the way they relate to biofuels); land and climate change; land, demography and urban development; and the new scramble for African land.

Experiences of land policy formulation and implementation are diverse. Regions and even specific countries within each region are at different stages of this process. While land reforms have been on going for many years in North Africa most other regions (Southern, Western and Eastern Africa) are just going through reforms and are at different stages. In Central Africa, no significant land reform has been undertaken for a very long time.

Date of publication
December 2010
Geographical focus

The African Union Commission (AUC) and African Heads of State and Government are committed to providing a conducive environment for economic growth, poverty reduction and equitable sustainable development. In this context, the quality of governance of land and natural resources is an important factor. Accordingly, better performance of land policies and institutions is required to deliver development goals. Land reforms must equitably address the needs of all land users, including smallholder farmers, the private sector, the urban poor and slum dwellers. This is especially because land is no longer readily available and there are rising pressures and tensions stemming from competition for this valuable resource.

Land policy needs to secure the rights of all land users and serve the multiple goals of equity, poverty reduction, income growth, economic efficiency and sustainable environmental management.

Given the importance of land to economic and social development and to ensuring peace and security, the majority of African governments have embarked on land policy and institutional reforms to address land issues in the context of national development. The key issues that need to be addressed in this context are: securing land rights to improve livelihoods and facilitate economic development; the centrality of urban land delivery and urban land development; natural resource access and sustaining common property resources; property rights and environmental sustainability; equitable land distribution and restoring alienated land; land and gender issues; and land and conflict.

To facilitate land policy formulation and implementation within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the consortium of AUC, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with regional economic communities have initiated a process of developing a framework and guidelines for land policy in Africa. The framework and guidelines are vital tools aimed at complementary national and regional processes for land policy formulation productivity and securing livelihood. 

The framework and guidelines will be useful in supporting regional and national land policy formulation and implementation processes through affording opportunities for peer learning. The framework and guidelines will also provide guidance on benchmarks and indicators for tracking progress achieved in land reform.

The process of developing the framework and guidelines includes regional assessments and consultations. The regional assessments aim to raise land policy issues that highlight specificities in existing initiatives and lessons that will enrich the framework and guidelines. The assessments will also help to identify challenges, knowledge, institutional and resource gaps as well as ongoing initiatives. This will assist in mapping out a strategy for capacity building and lesson-sharing activities vital to the implementation of the framework in the medium to long term.

Date of publication
June 2012
Geographical focus

By using long-term panel data sets of rural households in the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India and cross-sectional data sets in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, the roles of labor markets in long-term poverty reduction in Asia is compared with the current situation in East Africa. The study finds that the reliance on agricultural labor markets alone will not reduce poverty to a significant extent, in view of the declining share of agricultural wage income in Asia and its negligibly low level in East Africa. An increased non-farm income is a decisive factor in reducing rural poverty, as it has reduced the income gaps between the land-rich and land-poor households, between the educated and uneducated workers, and between less and more favorable agricultural areas. Labor markets are clearly segmented in accordance with the schooling levels, which critically affect occupational choice and non-farm income of rural labor force.

Date of publication
September 2014
Geographical focus

This paper investigates the reasons for
the low application of external fertilizers on farms in
Kenya and Uganda. The analysis uses a large panel of
household data with rich soil fertility data at the plot
level. The authors control for maize seed selection and
household effects by using a fixed-effects semi-parametric
endogenous switching model. The results suggest that Kenyan
maize farmers have applied inorganic fertilizer at the
optimal level, corresponding to the high nitrogen-maize
relative price, in one of the two survey years and also
responded to the price change over time. In Uganda, even the
low application of inorganic fertilizer is not profitable
because of its high relative price. The authors conclude
that policies that reduce the relative price of fertilizer
could be effective in both countries, while the efficacy of
policies based on improving farmers' knowledge about
fertilizer use will be limited as long as the relative price
of fertilizer remains high.

Date of publication
March 2012
Geographical focus

Integration in the East African
Community offers significant opportunities not only to
expand trade among member states, but more importantly to
scale up regional production to take advantage of much
larger global market opportunities. Special economic zones
are a potentially valuable instrument to facilitate the
integration of regional value chains in support of this
scaling up. They also have the potential to deliver powerful
demonstration effects on the benefits of integration and to
help entrench the integration process. This paper discusses
the proposal for developing an "economic integration
zone" in the East African Community. The benefits of
such a zone could be substantial, as would be the practical
challenges to implementation -- in particular the political
economy challenges. However, a number of institutional and
commercial solutions exist to address these challenges.

Date of publication
March 2012
Geographical focus

Sound infrastructure is critical for
growth in East Africa. During 1995-2005, improvements in
infrastructure boosted growth by one percentage point per
year, due largely to wider access to information and
communication technologies (ICTs). Although power
infrastructure sapped growth in other regions of Africa, it
contributed 0.2 percentage points per year growth in East
Africa. If East Africa's infrastructure could be
improved to the level of the strongest performing country in
Africa (Mauritius), regional growth performance would be
boosted by some six percentage points, with power making the
strongest contribution. East Africa's infrastructure
ranks behind that of southern and western Africa across a
range of indicators, though in terms of access to improved
sources of water and sanitation and Internet density, it is
comparable with or superior to the subcontinent s leader,
southern Africa. By contrast, density of fixed-line
telephones, power generation capacity, and access to
electricity remain extremely low, though utility performance
is improving through regional power trades. The road network
is relatively good, although with some lengths of
poor-quality or unpaved roads. Surface transport is
challenged by border crossings, port delays, slow travel,
limited railways, and trade logistics, but the region has a
relatively mature and competitive trucking industry. Air
transport benefits from a strong hub-and-spoke structure but
has made little progress toward market liberalization. Of
the seven countries in the region, four are landlocked, two
have populations of fewer than 10 million people, and two
have an annual gross domestic product of less than $10
billion. The difficult economic geography of East Africa
makes a regional approach to infrastructure development
necessary to achieve further improvement.

Date of publication
September 2014
Geographical focus

The East African Community has long
recognized that regional economic integration can yield
significant welfare gains to its member states. To that
end, the community has been making steady progress towards
the removal of tariffs and quantitative restrictions to
trade. Moreover, in recent years, there has been an
increasing recognition that: (a) even greater welfare gains
could be realized through deeper forms of regional
integration which entail harmonization of legal, regulatory
and institutional frameworks; and (b) reforms that reduce
cross-border transaction costs and improve the performance
of "backbone" infrastructure services are arguably
even more important for the creation of an open, unified
regional economic space than trade policy reforms narrowly
defined. Disparities of regulatory treatment across borders
can introduce distortions that hinder both cross-border
trade and the aggregate flows of investment on a regional
basis. Regulatory harmonization and infrastructure
regionalization could make a significant contribution to the
region's economic development by promoting a more
efficient utilization of its human and physical resources,
enhancing connectivity, reducing the costs of trade, and
facilitating the integration of the continent with the
global economy.


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