ENTEBBE — A Knowledge Exchange Workshop on land rights opened in Uganda’s city of Entebbe, 40km from capital Kampala—with a resounding call for countries to develop pro-poor land policies and inclusive land tenure rights and ownership particularly for women and indigenous communities.
Themed “Secure Land Rights, Learning, Collaboration and Practice,” the week-long workshop, a collaborative project of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and African governments including Uganda, seeks to promote recognition of traditional Land Rights focusing on improved land rights for marginalized groups jey among others —indigenous communities, youth and Women.
Uganda’s Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba revealed that the government has extended the Land Policy Interventions programme up to May 2026.
Nabakooba told delegate at the event held at Imperial Golf View, that the government and GIZ funded mailo project had resolved the landlord-tenant standoffs through the promotion of co-existence between landlords and tenants for enhanced security of tenure.
Land Policy Intervention Programme is a partnership between the Ugandan government and that of Germany under GIZ working on Mailo land to ensure occupants pay a nominal fee ‘Busuulu’ to get legal documents.
Nabakooba said it is because of the outcomes of these interventions that the ministry renewed the implementing agreement between the Government of Uganda and German Cooperation to enable the continued Implementation of the Responsible Land Policy Interventions programme up to May 2026.
“This project has been seen as a model to solve the problem of legal evictions. Kibanja owners also get legal documentation as provided for under the land Act. Shared partnerships between Government and other non- state implementing partners has built the capacities of Government and non-government institutions in terms of professional skilling and programming,” she said adding that in areas where they have provided certification of occupancy on Mailo land there is no more eviction and the landlords are also happy because they are receiving their Busuulu as they are expected.
Minister Nabakooba explained that good land governance increases access to land, access to improved land resources, increased production by farmers and increased income earnings thus leading to economic development and reduction of poverty which links with Uganda’s Vision 2040.
According to the minister, the involvement of traditional institutions and clan leaders, especially on issues of customary land, including land dispute resolution ensured that people had faith and trust in the interventions.
“This gives hope of continuity and sustainability of our land programs especially at community level. It is on this basis that Government appreciates the organizers of the Global Programme ‘Responsible Land Policy’ and the Global Programme for providing a forum and bringing together different stakeholders to support the implementation of Land Policies in Africa and the world at large,” she said
She added that the government has leant that securing legal land documentation in terms of certificates of ownership and certificates of occupancy has a positive impact on agricultural productivity and income.
“With such land registration opportunities, families have moved from the subsistence economy into the market economy as they have been able to use their certificates to generate income for themselves,” she said
The workshop brought together Uganda land governance stakeholders, GIZ land programmes, global land stakeholders and institutions to dialogue on pressing issues in the land governance space —building on lessons learned from linking practical approaches to land management and policy research.
Over 70 participants from 17 different countries also part of the exchange workshop
“After 65 years of implementation in various countries including Uganda, our programmes have supported a wide range of development options, adopted practical land rights formalisation approaches and incorporated them into policies. We have created scientific networks to support the topic of land governance in training and research,” said SLGA Head of Project Arno Sckeyde.
“With several years of implementation still ahead, the workshop provides an ideal moment for the two global programmes to join hands, and reflect on what works, share knowledge and best practices, and build on new ways of working for the future.”
“For this reason, we have designed this workshop not only to serve as a platform to network and share good practices but to also empower land stakeholders with practical advice that can be effectively implemented at regional and national levels, within institutions and land policy spaces,” he said.
He added: “Within five years of implementation, the project has supported the mapping of over 86,737 Bibanja, covering 77,602 hectares of land and reaching 79,520 Households. The overwhelming community demand enabled the project to pilot a process, leading to the issuance of the first Certificates of Occupancy (COO)”.
The project started in March 2017 and ended in May this year but due to the high demand the government agreed to extend the project for more five years and they expect to cover different areas which are facing the same challenge .
The project started in four districts where illegal eviction was more dominant and these include: Mityana, Mubende, Kasanda and Gomba districts.