The process of transferring the land tenure management authority from the central government to local authorities involves the determination of the jurisdiction of the future incumbent authorities, i.e. their control on a set of specified land and natural resources. But, why does the delimitation of local authorities’ area of influence cause so many problems in most West African countries? Does decentralization not usually result in the artificial and top-down creation of local administrative units whose entire legitimacy in the area of land management is yet to establish, while village or inter-village authorities have a strong local anchorage? Does one of the major rural land management challenges not consist in striking balance between the capacities devolved to the newly established municipal authorities and the historical roles of already existing village institutions?
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