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pro­gramme. This could have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on boost­ing trade and in­vest­ment since some of the re­stored land is premium agri­cul­tural land,” Se­tou said.

SA was grap­pling with its land re­form pro­gramme while other coun­tries on the con­ti­nent were yet to fi­nalise land re­form.

He said there could be lessons from fail­ures by dif­fer­ent coun­tries to drive part­ner­ship-driven land re­form.

“From the dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences of our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, we have seen how land re­form has caused some dis­rup­tions in agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion. Any land re­form ap­proach must be prag­matic. It’s un­for­tu­nate that a lot of what we have seen across the re­gion has brought dis­rup­tions to food se­cu­rity and af­fected agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity, as ben­e­fi­cia­ries in most cases are not fi­nan­cially sup­ported to drive com­mer­cial farm­ing,” Se­tou said.

In South Africa, over eight mil­lion hectares of land has been trans­ferred to ben­e­fi­cia­ries of land re­form, but the re­dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gramme had not lived up to ex­pec­ta­tion as much of the land re­dis­tributed fell into dis­use, re­sult­ing in a fail­ure of projects and the shed­ding of jobs.

He chal­lenged peo­ple to grab the op­por­tu­ni­ties to be pre­sented by the newly es­tab­lished ACFTA.

While the sign­ing of the ACFTA was timely , he cau­tioned that sig­na­to­ries should avoid the pit­falls that have be­set sim­i­lar trade agree­ments. “If we can fol­low through with its im­ple­men­ta­tion, it can go a long way to­wards grow­ing African economies that can thrive.” –

Pic­ture: Michel Bega

A vis­i­tor to Mel­rose Arch en­joys the Christ­mas dis­plays. View­ing of the dis­play is free every evening un­til Jan­uary 5. The cen­tre will also host a Christ­mas mar­ket from Wed­nes­day.

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