Securing customary land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa
This working paper (PDF) from the University of Gothenburg elaborates on new approaches to land tenure reform with regard to securing customary land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. The conventional approach for securing property rights to land is by establishing a system of private ownership through individual titling and has often not led to the intended improvements in agricultural investments and productivity. Instead it has had several negative social implications, e.g., marginalization of secondary rights holders to land, speculation and conflicts over land ans has also proven to be very costly and demanding in terms of institutional capacity. Therefore, since the end of the 1990s, there has been a shift of thinking regarding land tenure policy in Africa paying attention also to the legal recognition and formalization of already existing customary rights and communal tenure systems. The formalization of villages or communities as collective landholding units, which has attracted a growing interest, avoids many of the difficulties faced by the individual land titling model, however, it also raises its own set of challenges which need to be tackled to have an inclusive and equitable outcome at the local level. Thus, according to the authors the time is ripe for paying more research attention to the outcomes of these alternative approaches to tenure reforms so that the experiences and lessons learned can be made available to a broader audience and inform the preparation of similar reforms in other countries on the continent.