Côte d’Ivoire: national meetings to “prevent” conflicts over rural land tenure

National meetings on rural land in Côte d’Ivoire were opened on Thursday around the theme of “Mining and rural land”, with a view to “preventing” conflicts linked to the exploitation of land in the countryside.

These two-day meetings are a joint initiative of the NGO Inades-Formation, the Land Legal Laboratory of the Alassane Ouattara University of Bouaké (LAJFO UAO) and the Land Alert Platform.

Mr. Mathias Koffi, representing the Director General of the Rural Land Agency (AFOR), Bamba Cheick Daniel, opened the proceedings, in front of an audience of personalities including actors from the rural world.

The history of our country, he will say, reveals that the successive socio-political crises experienced over the past two decades have all revolved around the land question, despite the existence of the 1998 law on rural land. .

This law, voted unanimously by the deputies of all tendencies, aimed mainly at preventing land conflicts which have contributed so much to weaken the social fabric with the consequences of serious inter-community conflicts.

To prevent and settle these land conflicts in a sustainable way, President Alassane Ouattara created in August 2016 an agency specially dedicated to this issue: the Rural Land Agency, abbreviated “AFOR”.

Experts from various horizons will make reflections that will contribute to the citizen debate on the issues and rural land dynamics related to mining.

The discussions aim to decompartmentalize rural land and mining operations in order to involve them in national issues of social cohesion in order to help the political authorities to better regulate the issue.

These works are part of a multidisciplinary perspective (legal, sociological, economic, geographic, historical, anthropological, etc.) and an approach that is both theoretical and empirical.

The secretary general of Inades-Formation, Sena Adessou, argued that “taking a comprehensive approach to financial issues creates an opportunity to promote systemic reform of governance and respect for land and resource rights”.

The multifunctionality recognized by the earth has always made it the object of many desires. In agricultural countries, it is the main source of wealth for both the state and private individuals.

Therefore, a competition arises for the acquisition or control of this source of wealth and the consequences that flow from it. In Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivorian State has adopted Law No. 98-750 of 23 December 1998 relating to rural land tenure, which takes into account customary rights in the land appropriation procedure.

The objective of this law is to secure the rights and transactions taking place in rural land tenure. Despite these efforts, activities particularly important for the Ivorian economy such as agriculture and mining are struggling to be carried out in a serene environment.

In competition, each sector has a particular impact on rural land. However, it is the mining activity that is undoubtedly the most worrying, worries the NGO Inades-Formation.

Replacing agriculture wherever it turns out to be somewhat lacking, legal or clandestine mining is causing environmental and societal upheavals out of all proportion to agriculture, which it nevertheless tends to compete with.

Having a lasting impact on the quality of the soil, water and even air, mining is becoming more and more essential in rural land tenure as a major activity, consequently increasing land pressure and the resulting conflicts. .

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