Southern Africa

Date of publication
Marzo 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
Marzo 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
Febrero 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
Diciembre 2010

Southern Africa is one of the most well endowed regions in the continent in terms of mineral and natural resources. However, the region is facing serious environmental challenges such as land degradation, deforestation and water stress in specific areas.

The population of Southern Africa is estimated at 185 million people (Democratic Republic of Congo not included). The population is growing rapidly, mainly in urban areas. The rapid urbanization rate is challenged by the need to develop relevant socio-economic infrastructure. In the absence of effective response from the state and local government, informal settlements are mushrooming in urban and peri-urban areas across the region. 

The colonial legacy continues to exert a profound influence on land issues in Southern Africa. The entire region was affected by the consequences of colonial land policies such as legal dualism. In addition, former settler colonies in the region suffered massive land dispossession. Accompanying the history of land dispossession was the imposition of hierarchal, inequitable and racially discriminatory land tenure systems. Therefore, key land policy challenges in the region include re-establishing national sovereignty over the land and redressing unequal and race based land distribution. The protection of the commons against land-grabbing and privatization are also major land policy challenges in most countries in the region. 

Southern Africa is known as the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa and the world. In most countries in the region, the HIV/AIDS prevalence ranges from 12% (Tanzania) to more than 33% (Swaziland). The pandemic has clear impacts on land use, food and tenure security. In affected households, financial resources are diverted from agricultural production to pay for health care and funerals, leading, in some cases to the abandonment of farmlands.

Since the 1990s, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the demise of the socialist system in other countries in the region and the advent of more market-friendly economic policies have driven an intensive process of land policy reform across the region. National land policies are in place in some countries while others have just developed them. The land policy development process is far from being uniform: some countries are considered as models in terms of participatory processes while others followed top-down approaches. 

Generally in the region, land is vested in the state. Consequently, the state possesses extensive powers over the land held and used by people under customary law. However, the ongoing land policy development trends give greater recognition to customary tenure systems, even if the development of effective land management systems which protect the rights of local people remains a major challenge.

However good land policies may be, they will be rendered useless if the implementation systems and institutions are not functioning. The implementation process falls under the domain of land administration, a domain where the capacity of countries in the region is very low. The situation is also highly contrasted within the same country as well as within the region. For example, Mozambique is widely regarded as an example of best practice for the implementation process of the 1997 land law, but there are strong concerns about the weakening of local land rights as a result of the awarding of land concessions in certain areas. The fallout from the manner in which Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform programme was carried out since 2000 continues to reverberate through whole the region. 

Independent of the individual countries initiatives the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as a regional organization, has established a Land Reform Support Facility. This facility aims to provide support to member states in the formulation and implementation of land policies and programmes in line with their national development priorities. The facility has conducted an assessment of land issues in member states and developed a five-year phased programme that started in 2007 and covers the following four major areas: policy formulation and implementation; capacity building; information and communication; and research.

Date of publication
Agosto 2014
Geographical focus

Miombo woodlands stretch across Southern
Africa in a belt from Angola and the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) in the west to Mozambique in the east. The
miombo region covers an area of around 2.4 million km. In
some areas, miombo has been highly degraded as a result of
human use (southern Malawi and parts of Zimbabwe), while in
others, it remains relatively intact (such as in parts of
northern Mozambique, and in isolated areas of Angola and the
DRC). From a conventional forester's perspective,
miombo is fundamentally uninteresting. It supports
relatively few good commercial timber species. The
management of commercial species has been problematic. The
best areas were logged over long ago. Except in a few areas,
remaining commercially viable stocks are relatively small
and difficult to access. Public forestry institutions have,
for the most part, failed to put in place effective
management systems for forests, preferring instead to limit
their role to regulation and revenue collection, rather than
to management per se. The objectives of this paper are
threefold, and the paper is structured around these
objectives. First, in section two, the paper describes some
of opportunities for improving the use and management of
miombo woodlands. Second, in section three, outline some of
the barriers which are preventing households, communities,
and countries from adopting better and more sustainable
woodland management practices. In section four, by exploring
some of the policy opportunities for removing these
barriers, with the objective of strengthening miombo's
contribution to reducing risk and vulnerability of poor
rural households through sustainable forest management.

Date of publication
Agosto 2014
Geographical focus

Miombo woodlands stretch across Southern
Africa in a belt from Angola and the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) in the west to Mozambique in the east. The
miombo region covers an area of around 2.4 million km. In
some areas, miombo has been highly degraded as a result of
human use (southern Malawi and parts of Zimbabwe), while in
others, it remains relatively intact (such as in parts of
northern Mozambique, and in isolated areas of Angola and the
DRC). From a conventional forester's perspective,
miombo is fundamentally uninteresting. It supports
relatively few good commercial timber species. The
management of commercial species has been problematic. The
best areas were logged over long ago. Except in a few areas,
remaining commercially viable stocks are relatively small
and difficult to access. Public forestry institutions have,
for the most part, failed to put in place effective
management systems for forests, preferring instead to limit
their role to regulation and revenue collection, rather than
to management per se. The objectives of this paper are
threefold, and the paper is structured around these
objectives. First, in section two, the paper describes some
of opportunities for improving the use and management of
miombo woodlands. Second, in section three, outline some of
the barriers which are preventing households, communities,
and countries from adopting better and more sustainable
woodland management practices. In section four, by exploring
some of the policy opportunities for removing these
barriers, with the objective of strengthening miombo's
contribution to reducing risk and vulnerability of poor
rural households through sustainable forest management.

Date of publication
Abril 2014
Geographical focus

This report is based on seven background
papers comprising household studies, national level
analyses, and technical assessments. Household studies were
undertaken in Mozambique and Zambia to develop a clearer
picture of the role of Miombo woodlands in household
consumption. These studies were an outcome of intensive,
seasonal structured household surveys, which have formed the
core of the original work supported by this project
(technical annexes one, two, and three). Two national level
assessments were carried out, the first in Zambia on the
contribution of dry forests to economic development. This
assessment was derived from a synthesis of empirical
household studies, policy research, silvicultural and
ecological studies, and other primary sources (technical
annex four). The second country case study reviewed
community-based woodland management opportunities in
Mozambique and synthesized the results of other primary
studies (technical annex five). The author also reviewed
what is known about miombo silviculture and how management
systems could be improved or otherwise put in place to
increase productivity (technical annex six). Technical annex
seven focuses on policy options for improving management.
There are obvious geographic gaps in coverage in this paper.
Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were not
covered to any significant extent. This is partly because
the available body of miombo research largely excludes these
miombo-rich countries. It was also not our intention to
provide a comprehensive country-by country overview of the
status of miombo woodlands and the policies, institutions,
and legislation that are affecting their use. This
shortcoming notwithstanding, our efforts focused on teasing
out some of the complexities of miombo use and management in
the individual technical annexes.

Date of publication
Marzo 2016
Geographical focus

Once concentrated among a few large
economies, global flows of goods, services, and capital now
reach an ever-larger number of countries worldwide. Global
trade in goods and in services both increased 10 times
between 1980 and 2011, while foreign direct investment (FDI)
flows increased almost 30-fold. A value chain is global when
some of these stages are carried out in more than one
country, most notably when discrete tasks within a
production process are fragmented and dispersed across a
number of countries. Southern African Customs Union (SACU) -
region global value chains (GVCs) are both a new reality and
significant opportunity for expanding non-commodity exports
to support growth, diversification, and job creation in the
region. The task-based nature of GVCs creates opportunities
for developing countries to establish very quickly a
position in global trade within a sector in which they may
have had no previous experience. For South Africa, GVCs are
seen as a route to higher manufacturing exports and greater
value addition. For other SACU countries, GVCs are seen as a
route to diversification and global integration, and to
leverage the possibility of greater investment from South
Africa itself. The main objectives of the study are as
follows: (i) to understand trends of GVC participation and
competitiveness of South Africa and the wider SACU region,
the outcomes from this participation (exports, jobs, and
productivity), and the factors that determine
competitiveness; (ii) to map the extent of value chain
integration across the region and identify barriers to
deeper integration; and (iii) to identify policies and
actions that will be required to develop a globally
competitive, high value-adding factory Southern Africa.

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