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Land reform to boost black ownership in Namibia

Land reform to boost black ownership in Namibia

Namibia’s president Hage Geingob called for a change to the constitution to allow the government to expropriate land and redistribute it to the majority black population.

The country wants to transfer 43 percent, or 15m hectares of its arable agricultural land, to previously disadvantaged blacks by 2020. At the end of 2015, 27 percent has been redistributed, according to the Namibia Agriculture Union.

Namibia, which was ruled by colonial Germany and then apartheid South Africa until 1990, has large swathes of agricultural land, as well as major diamond and platinum mining industries.

As in South Africa, thousands of black Namibians were driven off their land in the 19th and 20th centuries, banished to barren and often crowded homelands known as Bantustans while being denied official ownership or tenure rights.

Twenty-eight years after independence, wealth in Namibia is still skewed along racial lines laid down in the colonial period. The level of inequality is one of the highest in the world, according to the World Bank.