Land is the single most important asset in most of rural Africa. Yet, 90 percent of the land in rural Africa is undocumented. Insecure land rights leave many African communities and households vulnerable to exploitation and displacement, particularly women who are least likely to have formally documented or recognized rights to the land they rely on. Insecurity of land rights for women, men, and communities in sub-Saharan African countries creates conflict, undermines conservation efforts, and reduces food security. As demand for land rises across the continent, land tenure security becomes a more pressing challenge.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of secure land rights to stability, poverty alleviation efforts, food security, and broad-based economic growth, a growing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have launched ambitious initiatives to strengthen their land laws and policies to ensure land rights for women, men, and communities.

Landesa Africa works toward “The Africa We Want”

The African Union Commission (AUC) views land governance as an indispensable pillar for attaining Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want,” the continent’s roadmap for transformational change. Landesa’s mission to strengthen land rights for people experiencing poverty is directly aligned with Agenda 2063’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Landesa work contributes to Agenda 2063’s goals, especially Aspiration 6: “An Africa where development is people-driven, unleashing the potential of women and youth.” Land is a crucial asset that drives economic development, and our approach increases the awareness of men and women regarding their land rights, helping accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment. In addition, our work creates opportunities that help people and communities lift themselves out of poverty. We do this by working side by side with governments and other organizations to strengthen land rights for people experiencing landlessness.

Click on the photos below to learn more about how Landesa land rights initiatives contribute to Agenda 2063:

Imelda’s Story

Jebbeh’s Story

Issues we work on

We work with partners across the continent to enhance food security and facilitate broad-based social and economic development through:

  1. 1Supporting efforts to clarify and secure communal land rights
  2. 2Bridging gaps between customary and statutory laws governing land and natural resources
  3. 3Conducting research to support data and research-driven solutions that benefit the poor
  4. 4Strengthening women’s property and inheritance rights in law and practice
  5. 5Improving access to justice to resolve land-related disputes in rural areas
  6. 6Clarifying land rights in post-conflict or post-disaster settings
  7. 7Working with communities, governments and commercial interests to design land-based investment models and strategies that benefit all parties in an investment

Our Impact

  1. icon woman
    Landesa is supporting the Land Policy Initiative, a joint program of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, to implement its commitment to strengthened women’s land rights across the continent.
  2. icon planter
    In Ghana, Landesa worked with the government’s Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project to develop a model lease agreement for commercial farmers and local communities, as well as investor/community guidelines for land-based investments. Landesa also partnered with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to develop a Land Tenure and Property Rights Risk Assessment Tool that can be used in areas with high urban growth and/or agricultural investment.
  3. icon justice
    In Kenya, Landesa helped the government ensure that new land legislation embodies constitutional mandates for gender-equal land rights and community-based land governance. And Landesa designed and implemented a pilot program to improve women’s access to justice within the customary system in Kenya.
  4. icon teacher
    In Rwanda, Landesa helped the government develop framework land laws and a pilot program to educate farmers, especially women farmers, about the importance of land rights and to document farmers’ land rights. Landesa is currently implementing another pilot project to resolve land-related conflicts and strengthen women’s land rights in Rwanda’s Eastern Province.
  5. icon notebook
    In Uganda, Landesa has developed a toolkit that can be used in many rural settings to help improve women’s land rights.
  6. icon plant
    Landesa has partnered with other governments and development organizations, including ministries and land commissions, the World Bank and CARE, to help them integrate land rights into their own work and improve their own outcomes.

Selected Initiatives

Agricultural Systems Change Initiative

In Kenya and Rwanda, Landesa is laying the foundation for millions of smallholder farmers to make long-term investments in their land through the Agricultural Systems Change Initiative. Implemented in partnership with One Acre Fund with funding support from Co-Impact, the initiative will strengthen land rights for 6 million households while helping to improve crop cultivation in Kenya and advance tree seedling planting in Rwanda. Stronger land rights, increased productivity, and higher land values are expected to generate an economic and livelihood impact of over $200 million. Through tackling root causes of inequality, this initiative seeks to reduce extreme poverty, protect the environment, and shape a more gender-equitable future for rural Africa.

Learn more about this initiative on Co-Impact’s website.