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A Research Report:The Status of Land Policies in Southern Africa

In Southern Africa, where vast landscapes hold the promise of sustenance and prosperity, a crucial battle for equality is being waged. At the forefront of this struggle is the Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA), a network spanning across ten countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, with a recent addition being Mauritius.

For over a decade, the RWA has been a beacon of hope for impoverished rural women, advocating tirelessly for their right to land through initiatives such as the “One woman- One Hectare” Campaign. This report delves deep into the status of land policies in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on women’s land rights, aiming to empower the RWA in its strategic planning endeavors. Within the intricate tapestry of Southern Africa’s socio-political landscape, the disparities in land policies reflect the nuanced colonial legacies that shape the region’s trajectory. From land tenure reforms to the role of traditional authorities, this report meticulously examines the policy nuances across SADC countries, identifying commonalities, and differences that influence the quest for gender equality in land ownership.

The economic backbone of most Southern African nations remains rooted in agriculture, with women serving as the backbone of this sector. Producing the lion’s share of food and contributing significantly to agricultural labor, women in rural areas play a pivotal role in sustaining livelihoods and driving economic growth. However, their access to land and tenure security are often marred by inequalities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement.

As we navigate the complexities of rural poverty and economic empowerment, it becomes evident that unlocking the potential of women in agriculture hinges upon securing their land rights. With smallholder farms employing millions and agriculture sustaining a significant portion of the population, addressing land inequality emerges as a crucial step towards fostering inclusive growth and prosperity in Southern Africa.Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of land policies in Southern Africa, shedding light on the challenges, opportunities, and pathways towards realizing women’s land rights.

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