M4P Hub Conference proceedings series: Encouraging and enabling the public sector to open up land and housing markets to the poor in South and Southern Africa

05/12/2011 Author: M4P Hub Team Topics: M4P Resources

Mark Napier presented Urban LandMark’s experiences at the M4P Hub conference in November 2011. He shares with us the questions and comments of participants at the event.

 The Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa addresses systemic change in the land sector. It focuses on getting land governance and management to work better so that, in a context of rapid urbanisation and extreme inequality (not to mention climate change), more people are able to access land, housing, services and trading opportunities.

What were the most recurring questions asked at the presentation?
a) In the land sector, given M4P practices, how do such programmes go about attempting to bring together the formal and the informal land and transaction registration systems?
b) In that changes in land management and property law tend to span decades and centuries, how does an M4P land programme design an exit strategy, and what kind of legacy does it leave behind?
c) Has there been solid uptake of the land market tools developed by Urban LandMark? [Yes, mainly by UN Habitat, where the approach is being taken down to municipal level in the form of land market unlocking action plans, but also locally with municipalities and private sector developers using our project cost modelling tools]
d) Can think tanks survive without donor funding? i.e. are there private sector based models for maintaining evidence based advocacy groups like Urban LandMark? The US think tanks are mainly funded by philanthropists.
e) How do we build market infrastructure in the land sector?
f) Is it a bad idea to work through government to achieve land reform?

What were the most controversial points?
a) The issue has been raised about whether conventional M4P methodology really works well in a sector where the greatest change needs to come from government because their roles and agenda are so intertwined in the land market – although this varies a lot between strong-state and weak-state situations;
b) Making access to land, housing and business opportunities work for the poor in growing and developing countries using viable models which have been proven, can often fly in the face of many of the suggestions emanating from more recent low carbon growth theory and practice!
c) Views of land and property in the sub-Saharan Africa context (and the consequent poor state of land administration and management) remain a major barrier to shared economic growth on the continent. Great energy should be spent on establishing at least some common ground amongst multilateral and bilateral organisations and advisors.

What interesting feedback did you get from an M4P/non-M4P perspective?
a) Many M4P programmes are facing similar challenges worldwide (making shared learning events like this tremendously useful if operating a local M4P programme);
b) Under the current UK government there is a real revival of PSD, but this has not always been reflected or communicated in the regional offices.

The full presentation can be accessed at: http://m4phub.org/userfiles/file/Theme%206_Urban%20Landmark.pdf

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