Since the 1990s, most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have implemented wide-ranging policies to formalise so-called ‘customary’ rights, framing them
as efforts to ‘register’, ‘legalise’ or even ‘secure’ land rights through titles that rural actors can use to access credit and investment.
However, these policies have not proved any more successful than similar initiatives in colonial times: only 2% to 10% of rural land is officially registered today, and many changes in tenure are not updated. Despite recurrent questions about the effectiveness of these policies and their potential to cause political and social disruption, it seems that policy makers are still keen to promote the supposed benefits of formalising local rights. How does this bode for the future?
Download the document using the link below this article. This note is also available in French here.