Most Land Surveyors Above 60, Lack Modern Skills

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MONROVIA, April 22 (LINA) - There are only 70 registered land surveyors in Liberia serving a population of 3.5 million people, an official of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has disclosed.

Deputy Minister for Operations, Sam Russ, added that most of these surveyors are above age 60 and lack basic skills in modern survey technology.

He said as a result, these surveyors use archaic methods that do not properly demarcate property boundaries, contributing to the mammoth land tenure insecurity prevailing in the country.

According to the Liberia News Agency, Deputy Minister Russ made the statement Monday during the opening of the Government of Liberia and World Bank-funded Land Cadastre Training Center held at the Ministry on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

He said to mitigate this problem, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has started to train a new generation of cadastral surveyors who will manage spatial data and move land administration into the digital age.

Russ explained that to fulfill the training mandate, a selected group of 33 young trainees were targeted for the training-of-trainers project in 2013.

He said 27 members of this group have completed the first phase of a four-month survey technician course jointly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Deputy Minister Russ told the gathering that six other students were added to the group of 27.

He also said that in 2011, with USAID and MCC funds, five students enrolled for a Master’s Degree program at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and have completed the two-year program.

Meanwhile, Minister Russ has reiterated the ministry’s commitment to land reform, nothing that trained surveyors were fundamental to land reform in the country.