MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberia Land Authority has launched its official website in a bid to fulfill requirements by the Millennium Challenge Corporation to provide accessible information to the public on land rights.
MCC is an independent U.S. foreign assistance agency that has funded the authority in the past.
“We remember during the last administration, the assistance we received from the MCC,” said J. Adams Manobah, LLA’s acting chair during the launch of the website.
“Whether it is required by [the] donor community or not, technology into this world is the most important tool for any institution, any individual to make use of, and that’s why we are doing this.”
The ceremony took place at the authority’s head office in Monrovia.
Manobah praised President George Weah for his leadership in winning the support of the international community to improve governance and services the country needs, including the land sector. He also recognized partners in the sector, including the World Bank, USAID, and the European Union for their support.
The acting Land Authority chair also praised members of civil society organizations and the media for their roles in bringing credibility to the work of the authority through their advocacy for the interest of society.
“The Liberia Land Rights Act couldn’t have come to pass today without the efforts of these people,” he noted. “Moreover, we have the women’s groups. In today’s development politics, one component that we can’t forget about is gender equality.”
He said he was happy that the Land Rights Act requires that even in the management of customary land, there must be equal gender representation.
He also, however, recognized that there was more work left to be done. According to him, the land rights law is so comprehensive and ambitious that there could be mistakes along the way if the authority is not careful.
USAID’s Land Governance Support Activities supported the website’s development. The chief of party, Yohannes Gebremedhin, said the launch of the website represents one of LGSA’s support to the Land Authority, in relation to its institutional development.
“This occasion presents to us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the institutional development of the LLA and to support the efforts that the LLA is making to meet the expectation of the people of Liberia for improved land administration service delivery and equitable and efficient land management systems and practices,” Gebremedhin said.
“We are pleased to see that the LLA is meeting the development objectives of the website with great interest.”
Gebremedhin said the website will promote and publicize the services, activities, and important legal instruments of the Land Authority. He said it will also serve as a means to bring the public into contact with the authority.
“Furthermore, the website is expected to enhance the visibility of the LLA as the most pertinent government authority with respect to land governance,” he added.
However, Gebremedhin pointed out that in order for the website to effectively contribute to the work of the Land Authority, information it provides must be accurate, current, and informative.
“This means the authority has the responsibility to regularly update the site and keep it current. Importantly, the LLA must ensure that content management is handled with due prudence.”
USAID’s advisor on democracy, rights, and governance, Jemel Liverpool, who spoke on behalf of the mission director, Anthony Chan, praised the leadership of the land authority and LGSA for the joint effort in launching the website.
Liverpool said the website’s launch marks a monumental step towards enhancing the visibility of the Land Authority and its important role in advancing the overall improvement of the lives of Liberians.
“It is our fervent hope that this website will be used for its intended purpose, regularly updated to enable stakeholders and the general population to get up-to-date information on programming of the LLA,” he said. While the launch of the website remains a welcoming venture, he underscored the need for information dissemination on land tenure beyond the website.
“The onus is now on the LLA and the government of Liberia as a whole, to further expand its communications and outreach efforts to make sure the message of potential legal land ownership can be reached to every Liberian throughout the length and breadth of this beautiful land,” he added.
He also stressed that to ensure long-lasting success for any of the activities undertaken by the authority, citizens must be fully informed and understand the processes and procedures needed to own land.
The coordinator for the CSO Working Group on Land Rights in Liberia, Alphonso Henries, applauded the collaboration of civil society organizations and the land authority in the continuous achievement of progress in the sector.
The website was built and designed by a local private consulting organization, Comax ICT, Incorporated.
It has basic information on the activities of the Land Authority, in addition to downloadable resources such as laws and policies. The website, however, contains no annual reports.
Featured photo LLA website