In collaboration with the Dutch Consul to the Gambia, The Gambia National Think Tank hosted a team of (3) land experts from Kadaster International in The Netherlands from 2nd to 6TH April, 2018.
Kadaster International is the Dutch government Agency for international technical assistance in land policy and administration.
In Holland, Kadaster is also the institution that collects and registers administrative and spatial data on property and land rights. It is responsible for national mapping and maintenance of the national reference coordinate system of that country and acts as an advisory body on land use matters and national spatial data infrastructures.
The (3) man expert team visited The Gambia on a scoping mission to study the land governance framework of the country with a view to identify possible areas of cooperation and collaboration with Gambia government and other partners and stakeholders in land administration.
Accompanied by members of the Secretariat of the Gambia National Think Tank, the visiting Dutch land experts paid courtesy calls on the Vice President, Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, Lamin N. Dibba, Minister of Lands and Regional Government and Habib Drammeh, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service. They visited the national land registry at the Ministry of Justice and had extension discussions with the Registrar General and his staff.
The Dutch team also had a one day interactive session with a cross section of Gambian land experts, civil society and private sector stakeholders in the land governance system of the country. The visiting team conducted site visits to Bakoteh Dump Site, Mariama Kunda Village and held a debriefing meeting with the Think Tank Secretariat in the presence of some of some local land experts.
At their meeting with the Vice President Aja Fatoumata Tambajang she welcomed the mission and gave strong indication of the importance of proper land administration in a country as densely populated as ours.
With a surface area of 11,100 square kilometers, The Gambia is Africa’s 10th most densely populated country with 176 persons per square kilometer. The current population growth rate at 3.2% per annum.
The Vice President noted this statistics with great concern for the immediate future direction of land administration in the Gambia. She underlined the urgent need for action on the part of government as addressed in the national development plan, 2018-2021, and urged the Think Tank to explore the possibility of signing an MOU with Kadaster International for collaboration on ideas and actions that will help modernize and further democratize the Gambia’s land governance framework for continued national stability and development.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Minister of Lands and Regional Government, as well as the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service. Both stressed in particular, the need to pay great attention to institutional and human resources capacity building and Technology Transfer in the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government. The Secretary General assured the Dutch delegation that The Gambia government would tap the vast Dutch experience in land policy development for advice and support. He said The Gambia government would seek the needed assistance from Kadaster International in order to modernize and strengthen land sector management in the Gambia.
The visiting Kadaster team’s scoping mission also took them to the office of the Registrar General, Ministry of Justice, where they visited the land registry and had discussions with the Registrar General and his staff. The discussion centred on issues relating to the storage and management of legal records and related land titles.
In Mariama Kunda, the visitors had a lively discussion with the village Alkalo, centering on areas of interest and concern to him in land administration at local community level in an area experiencing fast urban expansion and encroachment.
Signed: Ebou Waggeh