It is to enhance land policies and curricula on land governance within West Africa.
The NELGA was established by Africa Land Policy to implement the Africa Union’s Agenda on Land to help address weak land governance and insecure land rights.
Speaking at the opening on Thursday Professor John Tiah Bugri, Coordinator of NELGA, said the initiative would promote demand driven research on land policy issues and connect scholars and researchers across Africa through academic networks.
The project which assembled experts from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Namibia, Ethiopia and The Gambia, is financed by the German Ministry for Development Cooperation and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with the World Bank.
He said NELGA would create data and information for monitoring and evaluation of land policy reforms.
Using Ghana as an example, he said the land policy was developed 20 years ago and needed to be revised to address the challenges in the land sector which includes land guards, environmental degradation, climate change effects and urbanisation.
He said the project at the end of its life span would equip experts especially the youth with the needed knowledge to help address issues in the sector.
Prof Bugri urged universities in Africa to embrace the ALPC’s Guidelines for Development of Curricula on Land Governance as an opportunity to further improve land governance training on the continent.
He stated that the guideline would facilitate the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land and would be the basis for commitment, support and action by governments, universities and institutions of higher learning and other stakeholders to develop curricula, training and research programmes that better address the problems confronting land on the continent.
Justice Alan Brobbey, a retired Supreme Court Justice who chaired the function, stressed the need for the institution of a policy directions and guidance on optimum utilization of land resources to ensure sustainable development.
Dr Patrick Opoku, a representative of the GIZ, said the NELGA project had granted over 12 scholarships to students in West Africa and was looking forward to providing additional support in the coming years.