Formalization of Land Rights in the South: An Overview


Sjaastad, Espen, and Ben Cousins. 2008. “Formalization of Land Rights in the South: An Overview.” Land Use Policy 26: 1-9.

Authors: Espen Sjaastad, Ben Cousins


Formalisation of property rights has recently been proposed as a way of reducing poverty. The poor, it is said, do not lack assets, they lack only the formal, protected rights necessary to make these assets engines of entrepreneurship, thriving markets, and information networks. Historical evidence with regard to formalisation programmes is, however, mixed at best, and current universalist proposals contain numerous flaws. A more context-specific and flexible approach is needed, with greater attention to local settings and specific objectives and tools. Property formalisation should not be considered merely a technical tool but must take account of politics and culture.

Keywords: property, land rights, poverty, development, formalization

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 2008

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