Commercialisation of Land in Namibia’s Communal Land Areas

Type Report
Title Commercialisation of Land in Namibia’s Communal Land Areas
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL D2.pdf?1
Large-scale land acquisitions by both foreign
and local investors for agriculture, forestry
and wildlife purposes, among others, remain
a major challenge for African governments.
In recent years, the Namibian government
through various ministries received proposals
from multinational agribusiness to develop
large-scale agricultural irrigation projects.
However, only a few of these proposed largescale
projects have materialised or have been
operationalised. This study is aimed at investigating
land acquisitions by private and/
or foreign investors (large-scale agricultural
investors) in Namibia’s communal land areas.
The purpose of the study is, among others, to
ascertain the socio-economic impacts of such
deals on communities, whether legal requirements
are adhered to before land for such
deals is acquired or allocated, and whether
community members can protect or defend
their land rights or successfully oppose such
deals if such is not in their interest.
The Namibian chapter of this study identified
and looked at four proposed and potential
irrigation projects, all situated mainly along
Namibia’s water-rich north-eastern regions:
Fumu Mbambo Irrigation Project (Kavango
East Region), HJM AGRI Farm Ndiyona Irrigation
Project (Kavango East Region), Katondo
Farm Irrigation Project (Kavango East Region)
and Namibia Agriculture and Renewables
(NAR) Project (Zambezi Region).
The study found that there were insufficient
consultations with the communities who
were affected by the land deals. In addition,
other procedures, as provided for in the Communal
Land Reform Act, 2002 (Act No. 5 of
2002), were not being adhered to. The decision
to grant leases to private or foreign
investors seemed to only occur at a high level,
such as the Traditional Authority (TA), Communal
Land Board (CLB) and the Ministry of
Lands and Resettlement (MLR). In some cases,
community members were in the dark about
the positive and negative impacts of such projects.
They did not understand the benefits
of accepting such projects and the issues of
compensation were often not clear. One of
the major findings is also that the community
members lacked basic understanding
of their land rights and hence they are subjected
to decisions which, in the long run,
are not beneficial to them. The outcome of
the study advocates for the formalisation of
group rights to make more options available
for tenure security to different communities,
as the current legislation does not adequately
provide protection of commonage resources.

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