Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The National Land Commission (NLC), in partnership with University of Nairobi (UoN) the National Research Fund (NRF) and various other stakeholders, successfully convened the 3rd Regional Research Conference on June 12-13, 2024, at the Kenya School of Government (KSG) Nairobi. The two-day event, gathered leading experts, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders to explore the theme, "Data, Innovation, and Technology for Land Governance."

The conference aimed to facilitate dialogue on integrating data and technological innovations into land governance practices. It featured keynote speeches, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, providing attendees with insights into current trends and future directions in the field.

CS, ICT Hon. Elid Owallo speaking at the official
opening ceremony of the 3rd Regional Research

Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Digital Economy, Hon. Eliud Owalo EGH, highlighted the government's achievements in the digitalization process and noted that its efforts started with the Ministry of Lands. He urged all the ministries and government agencies represented to replicate what the government is doing in terms of digitalization and automation of processes. He emphasized the importance of leveraging modern technologies to achieve economic growth targets and provide effective services to citizens. The CS also underscored the Kenya National Digital Master Plan's recognition of the importance of land in production and its aim to automate land processes by 2030.







The University of Nairobi played a pivotal role in the conference's organization and proceedings. Prof. Jack Odhiambo, Dean, Faculty of Arts Social Sciences, represented the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kiama Gitahi and delivered a speech highlighting the university's focus on data management and innovation as key pillars in its strategic plan. He emphasized the significant role universities and research institutions play in transforming societies through teaching, research, innovation, and community service.

Prof. Odhiambo highlighted the University’s efforts in fostering innovation, including the annual Nairobi Innovation Week and the establishment of the Center of Land Acquisition and Resettlement (CELARS) and the Center for Urban-Rural Linkages in Urban Planning (CURLA). He stressed the importance of technology in land governance, citing examples such as the use of satellite and drone imagery data, Blockchain techniques for land records, and the Internet of Things (IoT) for decentralized soil monitoring.

The Vice-Chancellor’s speech also addressed the challenges of cybersecurity in the digital age and the university's efforts to tackle them, including the launch of a high-tech Cybersecurity Experience Center in collaboration with Cisco. He expressed his desire for the University of Nairobi to continue championing innovative solutions and products relevant to managing resources, including land and other factors of production.

NLC Chairman Gershom Otachi recognized land governance as integral to national development and social stability, acknowledging Kenya's multifaceted challenges in this area. He stated that the Commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, had made significant strides in digitizing land records and creating robust land information systems, including the flagship integrated Land Management Information System (LMIS).

Mr. Otachi highlighted the conference's sub-themes, such as Land Information Management Systems, Innovative Technologies for effective Land Governance, Strengthening Governance of Land and Natural Resources through Research and Digital Innovations, Land Data Policy, Regulatory and Institutional Frameworks, and Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Land and Natural Resources Governance, as contemporary and relevant facets of the conversation to attain the vision of secure land tenure and a sustainable built environment for all.

NLC CEO Kabale Tache Arero emphasized the timeliness of the conference's theme in addressing the complexities of land governance, urging the adoption of new technologies for sustainable and equitable land use. She commended the partners and sponsors, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), National Bank of Kenya, National Research Fund, and KELIN, for their invaluable support.

Ms. Tache stressed the importance of data privacy, security, and accessibility as crucial considerations in ensuring the equitable distribution of the benefits of data innovation and technology among all stakeholders. She also highlighted the need for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among researchers, practitioners, government agencies, private sector partners, civil society organizations, and local communities to drive positive change and improve land governance practices.

The 3rd Regional Research Conference underscored the transformative potential of data, innovation, and technology in addressing challenges such as urbanization and climate change, shaping sustainable land governance strategies for the region. Through its academic programs, research activities, and capacity building initiatives, the University of Nairobi continues to nurture a talented pool of experts and innovators who are driving the adoption of data-driven and technology-enabled approaches in land governance.