Securing land and resource rights in Africa: Pan-African perspectives
Ismail, Abdel Mawla
Simo, John Mope
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Across the African continent the land and resource rights of the rural poor are threatened by inappropriate policies and institutions (including global treaties); unequal social, political and economic relations; the actions of powerful vested interests (wealthy national or local elites, international aid organisations, multinational corporations); and the weakness of grassroots organisations. It is against this background that the Pan-African Programme on Land and Resource Rights (PAPLRR) Network’s initiative to analyse, understand and engage with these issues was conceptualised by four African centres of excellence that subsequently developed the programme in 2001. The unique contributions Africa can make are seldom taken seriously in international natural resource policymaking debates. One reason could be that the African voice on land and resource rights is perhaps not as strong in international forums as it should be. By coming together in forums such as PAPLRR, Africans are able to share their concerns and develop capacity to articulate their opinions and influence outcomes in the international arena. Defining an agenda for advocacy and strategic engagement with governments, and building links across divides between scholars, practitioners and advocacy groups, is an emphasis of PAPLRR into the future. A key focus of the programme is the role of land and resource rights in the struggle against poverty, exploitation and oppression as well as their contribution in solving real world problems of African people, not as academic objects to be studied, but as key components of the struggle.