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Cameroon

Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?

Citation:

Sulle, Emmanuel, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, and Leah Mugehera. 2019. “Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?” Paper presented at Conference on Land Policy in Africa, 2019: Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation, Abidjan, November 25-29.

Authors: Emmanuel Sulle, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, Leah Mugehera

Abstract:

This paper assesses the performance of selected countries in implementing the provisions of women’s land rights instruments such as African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure among others. Field research was carried out in seven African countries whereby, in each country a national researcher in collaboration with the collaborating nongovernmental organisation selected three heterogeneous locations which capture the range of situations under which rural women use land. Based on field research results complemented with desk review, the study finds that while statutory laws to protect women land rights are in place in all studied countries, with some differences and, in some cases with existing loopholes, adherence to these laws at the community level remain inadequate. This is particularly evident in terms of equality of rights to inherit land among men and women. Women experience constant threat from clansmen and relatives of their husbands. As also documented elsewhere, in many African communities (although not all), most land-holding systems are male lineage based, with men playing an important decision-making role. Malawi represents a specific case in this regard, as most land-holdings are based on matrilineal systems, but this still is not an automatic guarantee of women having more decision-making power on land. Based on these findings the paper confirms that while impressive steps to address women’s land rights issues have been taken in recent African policies, law enforceability is yet to receive sufficient political backing, due to widespread patriarchal values, limited financial and human resources and last but not least informal rules of the games that are the same drivers of widespread corruption. Patronage, ‘clientage’, illegality and opacity of land transactions find fertile ground in a patriarchal system. Understanding the status, causes and consequences of the de facto ‘unenforceability’ of constitutional and legal provisions in favour of women might shed a light on much broader challenges like those addressed in this conference. Holistic implementation and reforms that 1) address existing loopholes in land laws and regulation, 2) align other sectoral policies, laws and regulations, and 3) use transformative actions to revert patriarchal values in order to bridge the gender gap in property rights, but also to help creating a fairer environment to contribute combating corruption.

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Land Tenure, Governance, Constitutions, NGOs, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Togo

Year: 2019

Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon

Citation:

Ndi, Frankline A. 2019. “Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon.” Development Policy Review 37 (3): 348–66.

Author: Frankline A. Ndi

Abstract:

This article examines the political economic processes and gendered consequences involved in large‐scale land acquisition (LSLA ) in rural South West Cameroon. The study adopts a gender‐disaggregated approach to data collection to understand local perceptions and reactions to LSLA in the region. It shows how traditional cultural prescriptions have combined with contemporary land laws to masculinize power over land to the detriment of women. It argues that although men and women are both affected by LSLA projects, the impacts are much greater for women because what the state considers “empty land” is used by them to secure household food security. Second, it argues that amid societal discrimination over land‐ownership rights, perceived gender differences between men and women appear “rational” in the event of LSLA —men follow their ascribed roles in overt reactions, women being more covert and much less vocal in land‐related contests. New policies that promote rural women's land rights will not only empower them during land struggles, they will also provide communities with greater security to sustain ecologically viable livelihoods.

Keywords: Cameroon, feminist political ecology, gender perceptions and reactions, land grabbing, large-scale land acquisition, rural livelihoods

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Land grabbing, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2019. “Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon.” In Natural Resource Endowment and the Fallacy of Development in Cameroon, 215-42. Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Land grabbing Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Left out but Not Backing down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2017. “Left out but Not Backing Down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon.” Development in Practice 27 (8): 1114–25.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
This article examines the situation of women around agro-plantations which have taken over their farmlands in the South-West Region of Cameroon through large-scale land acquisitions, and how they have sought popular redress. Based on a survey and focus group discussion among affected women, the findings revealed that women are generally left out of large-scale land acquisition processes. They complained of displacement from their farms and traditional forest resources, which has negative effects on their livelihoods and lifestyles. Despite women’s constrained situation, they have risen collectively against marginalisation, failed promises, and injustices through protests and defiance, achieving some successes in their demands for recognition and compensation.

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Cet article examine la situation des femmes dont les terres agricoles ont été acquises par les plantations agro-industrielles lors d'acquisitions foncières à grande échelle dans la Région Sud-Ouest du Cameroun, et comment elles ont cherché à obtenir réparation. Basés sur une enquête et des groupes de discussion thématique, les résultats ont révélé que les femmes concernées sont généralement exclues des processus d'acquisition foncière à grande échelle. Malgré leur situation contraignante, les femmes se sont soulevées collectivement contre leur marginalisation, les promesses non tenues et les injustices subies par elles à travers des manifestations et des actes de défiance, jusqu'à obtenir certains succès pour leurs exigences de reconnaissance et de compensation.

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
El presente artículo examina la situación de mujeres que habitan en zonas cercanas a plantas agroindustriales que, a través de adquisiciones de tierra a gran escala, han acaparado sus tierras en la región suroeste de Camerún. Asimismo, aborda cómo estas mujeres han solicitado reparaciones. La aplicación de una encuesta y la realización de discusiones entre mujeres afectadas en grupos de enfoque, revelan que éstas generalmente son excluidas de los procesos de adquisición de tierra a gran escala. Debido a ello reclaman haber sido desplazadas de sus parcelas agrícolas y de sus recursos forestales tradicionales, lo que ha producido efectos dañinos tanto en sus medios de vida como en sus estilos de vida. A pesar de la difícil situación que enfrentan, las mujeres se han movilizado colectivamente —a través de protestas y resistencias— en contra de la marginación, las promesas incumplidas y las injusticias, logrando algunos avances en sus demandas de reconocimiento y compensación.

Keywords: Sub- Saharan Africa, gender and diversity, Rights

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2017

Institutional, Economic and Socio-cultural Factors Accounting for Gender-based Inequalities in Land Title Procurement in Cameroon

Citation:

Njoh, Ambe J., Liora Bigon, Erick O.Ananga and Richard A. Ayuk-Etang. 2018. "Institutional, Economic and Socio-cultural Factors Accounting for Gender-based Inequalities in Land Title Procurement in Cameroon." Land Use Policy 78: 116-25.

Authors: Ambe J. Njoh, Liora Bigon, Erick O.Ananga, Richard A. Ayuk-Etang

Abstract:

The study identifies and analyzes factors causing women to procure fewer land titles than men in Cameroon. It employs a qualitative approach, and an analytical framework grounded in feminist thought. The identified factors are analyzed under five broad categories as follows: institutional impediments, indigenous culture, received culture, productive and reproductive roles of women, and economic constraints. The analysis ends with a number of policy recommendations prominent among which are the following: drastically reducing the cost, number of agencies and steps involved in the land title application process; employing informal channels of communication to disseminate information on land; and maintaining office hours that take into account the tight schedules of women. The study holds lessons for land reform initiatives not only in Cameroon but other developing countries in general.

Keywords: Cameroon, gender- based inequality, land law, land titling, land policy, land tenure formalization

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2018

Farm Income, Gender Differentials and Climate Risk in Cameroon: Typology of Male and Female Adaptation Options across Agroecologies

Citation:

Molua, Ernest L. 2011. “Farm Income, Gender Differentials and Climate Risk in Cameroon: Typology of Male and Female Adaptation Options across Agroecologies.” Sustainability Science 6: 21-35. 

Author: Ernest L. Molua

Abstract:

This paper explores the response to risk of smallholder agricultural producers in the face of variable and changing climate in Cameroon. The low rainfall distribution in some regions of the country and the high inter-seasonal variability of rainfall makes crop production, on which the livelihood of rural inhabitants is based, a risky enterprise. Women farmers in Cameroon are an important group for whom risk aversion influences production outcomes and welfare. This study identifies and analyses the effect of climate risks on the productive activities and the management options of male and female farmers. Women-owned farms, on average, record profits of US$ 620 per hectare to about US$ 935 for crop enterprises across the different agroecological zones. Comparatively static results indicate that increases in climate variability and the uncertainty of climate conditions have an explicit impact on farm profit. The impacts of increased uncertainty in climate and risk aversion are ambiguous depending on the agroecology. Ex-ante and ex-post risk management options reveal that female-owned farms in the northern Sahel savannah zone rely on more sophisticated strategies to reduce the impact of shocks. While adapting to uncertain climate positively influences profit levels, risk measured as the variance of rainfall or temperature per unit variation in profit is significant. This analysis stresses the increased importance of climate risk management as a prelude to the panoply of adaptation choice in response to expected climatic change. 

Keywords: Cameroon, agriculture, female-owned farm, climate, uncertainty, risk aversion

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2011

Implications of Customary Practices on Gender Discrimination in Land Ownership in Cameroon

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart, Irene Fokum Sama-Lang, and Lawrence Fon Fombe. 2012. “Implications of Customary Practices on Gender Discrimination in Land Ownership in Cameroon.” Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (3): 260-74.

Authors: Lotsmart Fonjong, Irene Fokum Sama-Lang, Lawrence Fon Fombe

Abstract:

Africa, before European colonization, knew no other form of legal system outside customary arrangements. Based on secondary sources and a primary survey conducted between 2009 and 2010 on the situation of women and land rights in anglophone Cameroon, this paper examines the grounds for discrimination in customary laws against women's rights to land in the context of legal pluralism, and discusses the implications of this custom of gender discrimination. In drawing from Cameroon as an exemplar, it concludes that the strong influence and impact of customs on current land tenure systems have global implications on women's land rights, food security and sustainable development, and that gender equality in land matters can be possible only where the critical role of ethics is recognized in pursuit of the economic motive of land rights.

Keywords: women's rights, land tenure, customary practices, discrimination, development

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Conflict, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, Peace and Security, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2012

Gender and (Militarized) Secessionist Movements in Africa: An African Feminist’s Reflections

Citation:

Mougoué, Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta. 2018. "Gender and (Militarized) Secessionist Movements in Africa: An African Feminist's Reflections." Meridians 17 (2): 338-58.

Author: Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué

Abstract:

Utilizing interdisciplinary and multimethodological approaches, this essay explores women’s roles in buttressing the political cohesion of secessionist movements in postcolonial Africa. It argues that African women have supported the actions of male-dominated secessionist movements in order to garner their own social and political power. Using case studies from Anglophone Cameroon, Western Sahara, Cabinda Province (Angola), and Biafra (Nigeria), the essay historicizes and outlines a new analytical framework that explores women’s multifaceted participation in secessionist movements in modern-day Africa.

Keywords: gender, secessionism, Cameroon, Cabinda, Western Sahara, Biafra

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa Countries: Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria, Western Sahara

Year: 2018

Women’s Land Rights and Working Conditions in Large-Scale Plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2016. “Women’s Land Rights and Working Conditions in Large-Scale Plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Africa Development 41 (3): 49–69.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Women’s land rights are fundamental for women’s economic empowerment. Increasingly, the nationalization of customary land and the current growth in private land ownership and commercial farming are exerting strong pressure on land and are a threat to women’s usufruct land rights. The discourse over land reforms in most poor African countries like Cameroon is embedded in the evolutionary models where customary landholding systems are changing into state land ownership with greater market integration. These changes are taking place within limited state protection of communal and women’s land rights in the process of land registration. This article discusses the evolution, actors and activities involved in large-scale land acquisitions in the sub region within the framework and women’s rights to land and working conditions in the plantations. Through simple mapping from an in-depth desktop review and some level of field observations and conversations with some of the actors involved in affected localities in Cameroon, the article highlights women’s experiences as customary communal land is transferred into private ownership. In fact, wherever land has been taken up for plantation agriculture, women’s access to land has reduced, making them more vulnerable to hunger, poverty and poor working conditions. This is because women’s land rights have not evolved with the customary evolution into private tenures. Current processes of large-scale land acquisitions should therefore create conditions for women’s participation through a fair degree of equal opportunities, transparency, and accountability to communities, and relevant institutions.
 
FRENCH ABSTRACT: 
Les droits fonciers des femmes sont fondamentaux pour leur autonomisation économique. De plus en plus, la nationalisation des terres coutumières et la croissance actuelle de la propriété foncière privée et de l’agriculture commerciale exercent une forte pression sur les terres et constituent une menace pour les droits d’usufruit fonciers des femmes. Le discours sur les réformes foncières dans la plupart des pays africains pauvres comme le Cameroun s’inscrit dans les modèles évolutifs où les systèmes fonciers coutumiers se transforment en propriété foncière étatique avec une plus grande intégration du marché. Ces changements se produisent dans le cadre d’une protection limitée de l’État sur les droits communaux et les droits fonciers des femmes dans le processus d’enregistrement foncier. Le présent article traite de l’évolution, des acteurs et des activités en matière d’acquisition de terres à grande échelle dans la sous- région ainsi que des droits fonciers des femmes et leurs conditions de travail dans les plantations. Grâce à une cartographie simple faite à partir d’une revue documentaire approfondie, d’observations sur le terrain et de conversations avec certains des acteurs impliqués dans les localités touchées au Cameroun, cet article souligne les expériences des femmes face à la transformation des terres communales coutumières en propriété privée. En fait, partout où la terre est utilisée pour l’agriculture, l’accès des femmes à celle-ci a diminué, les rendant plus vulnérables à la famine, la pauvreté et aux mauvaises conditions de travail. C’est parce que les droits fonciers des femmes n’ont pas évolué au rythme de la transformation des terres costumières en tenures privées. Les processus actuels d’acquisition de terres à grande échelle devraient donc créer des conditions propices à la participation des femmes, par l’équité des chances, la transparence et la reddition de comptes par les communautés et les institutions concernées.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2016

Structural Adjustment and African Women Farmers

Citation:

Gladwin, Christina H, ed. 1991. Structural Adjustment and African Women Farmers. Gainesville: University of Florida Press: Center for African Studies, University of Florida.

Author: Christina H. Gladwin

Annotation:

Summary: 
Focuses on the debates surrounding structural lending programmes and the effect they have on women in Africa. It questions the conventional dependency model and provides some counter-evidence that the economic position of women in societies with freer market policies has improved (Summary from WorldCat).
 
Table of Contents:
1. Structural adjustment and structural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa
Stephen O'Brien
 
2. Women, structural adjustment, and transformation: some lessons and questions from the African experience
Uma Lele
 
3. Getting priorities right: structural transformation and strategic notions
Bruce F. Johnston
 
4. Policies to overcome the negative effects of structural adjustment programs on African female-headed households
Jean M. Due
 
5. Impact of structural adjustment programs on Women and their households in Bendel and Ogun States, Nigeria
Patience Elabor-Idemudia
 
6. Women and structural adjustment in Zaire
Brooke Schoef et al.
 
7. Impact of structural adjustment programs on rural women in Tanzania
Ruth Meena
 
8. Fertilizer subsidy removal programs and their potential impacts on women farmers in Malawi and Cameroon
Christina H. Gladwin
 
9. Women traders in Ghana and the structural adjustment program
Gracia Clark and Takyiwaa Manuh
 
10. Ideology and political economy of gender: women and land in Nso, Cameroon
Miriam Goheen
 
11. Women's agricultural work in a multimodal rural economy: Ibarapa District, Oyo State, Nigeria
Jane I. Guyer with Olukemi Idowu
 
12. Structural transformation and its consequences for Orma women pastoralists
Jean Ensminger
 
13. New women's organizations in Nigeria: one response to structural adjustment
Lillian Trager and Clara Osinulu
 
14. Role of home economics agents in rural development programs in northern Nigeria: impacts of structural adjustment
Comfort B. Olayiwole
 
15. Curriculum planning for women and agricultural households: the case of Cameroon
Suzanna Smith, Barbara Taylor
 
16. Women farmers, structural adjustment, and FAO's plan of action for integration of women in development
Anita Spring and Vicki Wilde.
 

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Households, International Financial Institutions, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania

Year: 1991

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