In 2006, the AUC, the UNECA and the AfDB initiated a process for the development of a framework and guidelines for land policy and land reform in Africa with a view to strengthening land rights, enhancing productivity and securing livelihoods for the majority of the continent’s population. That initiative was carried out by way of extensive consultations involving the participation of RECs in all the five regions of the continent, civil society organizations, centres of excellence in Africa and elsewhere, practitioners and researchers in land policy development and implementation, government agencies and Africa’s development partners. The final outcome of the initiative was then presented before the formal decision-making processes of the AU for approval and adoption by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2009.

The Framework and Guidelines (F&G) which follow are presented in seven interrelated chapters. Chapter One provides the justification for and process followed in developing the F&G. Chapter Two describes the context which has defined the nature and characteristics of the land question in Africa in order to explain the reason why the land sector has not played its primary role in the development process. That role is examined in Chapter Three. Chapter Four sets out the key operational processes which African countries will need to follow in order to develop comprehensive policies that would enable the land sector to fully perform that role. Chapter Five analyses the difficulties likely to be met and conditions necessary for the effective implementation of such policies. Chapter Six discusses the measures which African countries may wish to put in place to track progress in the development and implementation of those policies. The final chapter is a concluding statement on how member countries of the AU might want to use the F&G.