The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) is an initiative of the African Union, the United Nations Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. It is a partnership of more than 50 leading African universities and research institutions, to strengthen the training and curriculum development on land governance in Africa.

PLAAS is a special NELGA node focusing on short course training: The Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa. We have developed an endorsed short course on the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa, under the ‘Building the Next Generation of African Experts in Land Governance’ project. This course is funded through the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) and GIZ.

The course brings together a number of land professions from various member states and NELGA institutions linked to the African Union to unpack land governance from a political economic lens.

Course Content

The course addresses the political economy of land governance to include the pre-colonial and colonial histories; statutory and customary tenure rights; land policy and land law; land administration in rural and urban contexts; land corruption; large scale acquisitions, gender and class; and natural resource access and management. The curriculum addresses the continent as a whole, but each course has a regional focus in which it is offered in. So far, we’ve held courses in South Africa (Southern Africa), Tanzania (East Africa), and Ghana (West Africa). Our next course will focus on francophone Africa in Senegal.

Who Can Apply?

Land practitioners and policy makers on the continent who have the responsibilities and expertise on the land governance issues. Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree and have at least 3-4 working experience. Applicants without a university degree may be considered, if they have 10-15 years’ work experience.


Participants are required to complete a pre contact assignment, site visit report and the final submission of a learning portfolio. Participants would receive either:

  • A Certificate of Attendance for those who attend at least 80% of the sessions and participate in 50% of all in-class assignments, but do not complete the assessment activities, or
  • A Certificate of Competence for those who successfully complete all assessments.


Excerpts from participants on the contribution the short course impacts on their work practices:

“This short course was not just a short course to me, it was a little bit more than that because the lecturers, presentations, field visit and the country reflections were more than crucial information to me. My work practice focuses more on the technical part of land governance and land administration and we never bother about the social, political and economic part of land governance. So with this course I will be able to consider the social economic part of land governance in my work practice, this adding great value to my career.”

“The course strengthened my policy analysis skills in the need to be equipped with evidence when making policy recommendations.”

“I am now equipped to draft policies and advocacy agenda on land governance. I have also learned skills to write good reports on land issues.”

“There have been challenges of what to consider in tackling some land governance issues. The course being very interactive gave me options to look out for.  It also offers the opportunity to study some successful approaches in land governance in other countries.”

“The short course equips me with the needed understanding of land governance, which is vital for the community I work for. It gives me a broader understanding of land governance and allows me to reflect on issues of governance in Kenya. It will develop a land governance assessment framework for Kenyan Rangelands which will borrow a lot from the course.”

“It gives a clear understanding of land governance in Africa. It opened up a broader area of research related to land economics. It will help on improving curriculum on my working institution as we offer some of Land Administration course to the primary government officers who actually interact with local people on their daily works.”

Video clip of short course held at PLAAS, South Africa


The short course is funded by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), through NELGA. We have a limited amount of funding available for participants, which covers course fees, travel and accommodation. Interested parties should apply once the call has been released.  

Course Coordinators

Prof Ruth Hall

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Prof Moenieba Isaacs

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Enquires may be directed to Ms Carla Henry, the Postgraduate Programme Administrator.

Institute for Poverty, Land & Agrarian Studies (PLAAS),


Tel: +27 21 959 3730/3733

Fax: +27 21 959 3732

University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville, 7535, Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA


PLAAS would like to thank our funders and partner institutions for the successful implementation of the NELGA Short Course of the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa.