July 27, 2017 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The World Bank Country Director has yesterday pledged 10 Million Dollars to support the implementation of the new Land policy Project in Sierra Leone.
Parminder Brar made the above disclosure at the commencement of a two -day National Land Conference organised at the Miatta Conference Centre, with the theme ‘The way forward for land reform in Sierra Leone’.
He said the World Bank is concerned with land issues, which he said was very much central to the social and economic well-being of the country.
“Land issues in Sierra Leone are extremely complex as it comprises a free hold and customary system,” Mr. Brar said.
He continued that the bank was concerned about what has been going on in the Land Management System, reiterating that land is central to development and “we are ready to support and work with the government.
“In 2015, we financed the overall land governance assessment framework and that has given a detail on a whole lot of area into the performance of land Management in Sierra Leone,” he stated.
Mr. Brar said in May 2017, the World Bank had a team of consultant, who did an assessment of large scale agricultural land acquisition and that the report was now ready with several recommendations.
Also speaking was the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Samuel Gbaydee Doe, who expressed delight to be in attendance at the conference to deliberate and define operational framework for the National policy on Land .
He said Land is a finite resource and that it was increasingly getting scarcer in all countries for two main reasons.
“First ,because of the fast growing population .By 2030, we would be at least 8.5 billion on earth .Sierra Leone for example has grown from 5 Million to 7 Million just in the last few decades .As the population increases, there is increased demand for land ,” he said.
He stated that Sierra Leone was not yet at the critical threshold of scarcity as it has not yet fully maximise the potential of its land, which he said makes land governance urgent and imperative .
“The launch of the SDGS has reinforced the centrality and urgency for land governance. We cannot talk about prosperity in Sierra Leone without ending poverty in all its forms; ending hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. None of these can be achieved without land governance,” he lamented.
While making the keynote address, Deputy Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Mamoud Tarawally, expressed optimism that the National Land Policy will succeed in Sierra Leone, adding that the government of Sierra Leone through the Agenda for Prosperity will support the full implementation of the policy.
Mr .Tarawallie thanked World Bank, UNDP, FAO and other International Partners for their support throughout the formulation of the Land Policy.
He stated that as a country, there were challenges facing the nation ranging from degradation, land grabbing to deforestation amongst others.
He highlighted that the aspiration of the Land policy is that by 2027, there shall have been an integrated, secured, affordable, efficient land management system in Sierra Leone.
He added that the Land policy will help in poverty alleviation and improve land tenure security system in the country.
Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Project Development, Dr. Alphajoh Cham gave an overview of the National Land policy and dilated on the Land tenure system and governance, land use management issues and the existing challenges to land governance amongst others.
He observed that there was inequitable access to land leading to poverty as he put it that land tenure insecurity within a dual tenure system has affected Sierra Leone greatly.