Securing Land and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Local Institutions


Toulmin, Camilla. 2009. “Securing Land and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Local Institutions.” Land Use Policy 26 (1): 10–9. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.07.006.

Author: Camilla Toulmin


Central governments have neither the capacity nor the local knowledge to implement a just, large-scale national land registration system. Support to local institutions to undertake intermediate forms of land registration has been shown to be far more effective in many places—although these need careful checks on abuses by powerful local (and external) interests, measures to limit disputes (too many of which can overwhelm any institution) and measures to ensure that the needs of those with the least power – typically women, migrants, tenants and pastoralists – are given due weight. These locally grounded systems can also provide the foundation for more formal registration systems, as needs and government capacities develop. Even if there are the funds and the institutional capacity to provide formal land title registration to everyone in ways that are fair and that recognize local diversity and complexity, and could manage disputes, this may often not be needed. For the vast majority of people, cheaper, simpler, locally grounded systems of rights registration can better meet their needs for secure tenure.

Topics: Class, Land Tenure, Governance, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 2009

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