Land tenure systems and their impacts on food security and sustainable development in Africa
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
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This report is the first in a series of research studies that the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will produce with a view to improving the understanding of the links between land tenure systems and sustainable development in Africa. In a continent where 80 percent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood, the formulation and implementation of appropriate land policies is a paramount factor in poverty reduction strategies. Research is therefore needed to help policymakers take learned decisions when addressing land tenure issues. This report was prepared by the Research in fact shows that indigenous land rights systems do not have to be communal or ambiguous and are often secure enough to meet investors’ requirements. Furthermore, traditional land tenure is often ﬂexible enough to cope with increasing land scarcity and can permit a gradual, “autonomous” individualization of rights. State intervention in land matters is often more harmful than beneﬁ cial and should be undertaken only after careful analysis of the likely impact. On this evidence, the debate on land tenure should shift from its usual focus on customary/statutory land rights to the broader issues of management of land-based resources.We hope that this work broadens perspectives on land issues and helps African countries to design and implement reforms that take into account the speciﬁ city of their social, economic, political, and cultural contexts.