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The Global Land Rush: What This Means for Customary Land Rights - Rights to Resources in Crisis: Reviewing the Fate of Customary Tenure in Africa - Brief #5 of 5

The Global Land Rush: What This Means for Customary Land Rights - Rights to Resources in Crisis: Reviewing the Fate of Customary Tenure in Africa - Brief #5 of 5
by Joseph Badash last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:44 AM
Contributors: Liz Alden Wily
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)

In accordance with African tenure regimes/customary laws, much of the 1.4 billion hectares is not rightfully state property at all, but rather, the lands of individual rural communities, traditionally arranged in more or less discrete domains (“community land areas”). Outside of densely populated areas where no unfarmed land remains, a typical community domain comprises settlements and farms but predominantly surrounded by lands which by tradition constitute the shared property of all members of community. Forests, rangelands and/or marshlands may dominate in these areas. Access to some of these areas or resources within them, may be customarily shared with neighboring villages or clans. Seasonal access rights held by pastoralists may also apply. However the founding owner/controller of the lands is usually an identifiable community. With some exceptions, no such thing as “un-owned” land exists in Sub-Saharan Africa. Every corner of every state has a customary owner. The extent to which this tenure is respected in modern national law is at the crux of concerns discussed here in relation to an emerging rush for land on the continent.

Author(s): Liz Alden Wily

Publication Date: 2011

Location: Africa

Download File from Portal: Wiley_Brief # 5.pdf — PDF document, 1,022 kB (1,047,037 bytes)

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