Most francophone African states nationalised the colonial land tenure systems they inherited at Independence and then periodically adjusted them according to the situation in each country. Their citizens have yet to enjoy secure land rights, and there is still a yawning gap between the law and actual practice at both the lowest and highest levels. This paper argues that the challenge of securing tenure can only be met successfully by adopting clear and consensual land policies; and that the policy frameworks guiding public action on land need to be negotiated with the various stakeholders concerned and written into offi cial land policy documents.
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