Webinar: Urban land in Africa – contested governance, value capture and prospects for reform

Apr 30, 2024

Date: Monday 20 May 2024

Time: 13:00-14:30 BST / 14:00-15:30 SAST / 15:00-16:30 EAT  

Register: bit.ly/ACRCUrbanLandWebinar

Summary: In many African cities, land is governed by a complex arrangement of actors – public and private, formal and informal, local and international. In the context of speculative land markets, porous bureaucracies and conflicting transaction records, land governance has remained hotly contested. Reform efforts aimed at optimising systems or addressing injustices have often had to confront these conflicts, engaging directly with questions of power and politics in the urban land space. 

As part of ACRC’s land and connectivity domain, a team of researchers undertook detailed studies in six African cities, with a keen eye on the relationship between land administration and governance, land value and markets, and land reform efforts.

Chaired by Tom Goodfellow and Liza Rose Cirolia, this webinar will draw on research conducted in Accra (Ghana), Bukavu (DRC), Harare (Zimbabwe), Kampala (Uganda), Maiduguri (Nigeria) and Mogadishu (Somalia), focusing on the following questions:

  • How do these multiple and contested land governance arrangements “present” in different cities? Who is involved and what roles do they play? What are some of the key historical forces and contextual factors that have shaped the emergence of these players and the establishment of these roles? What are the politics of these arrangements – in other words, how is power established, maintained or lost by different actors and where do key sites of contestation sit? Do these actors draw on, for example, social contracts, the law, violence, finance or other sources of power and legitimacy to establish themselves? 
  • What factors are shaping land value in the different cities (in particular where there are rapidly changing land values)? Taking account of the contestation discussed in the early sections, how is this value being captured, and by whom? What processes and technologies are supporting this capture and how just or unjust is the outcome? 

The event will begin with an overview of the research aims and design, as well as previewing some of the headline crosscutting comparative findings from the ACRC land and connectivity domain report. This will be followed by two panel discussions in which city researchers from some of the six cities will provide an overview of key findings in relation to the themes above. Finally, we will consider implications for urban reform and future research.

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Header photo credit: David Attricki / Pexels (via Canva Pro). Aerial shot of buildings and road in Accra, Ghana.

Note: This article presents the views of the author featured and does not necessarily represent the views of the African Cities Research Consortium as a whole.

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