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Formalizing the Informal: Is There a Way to Safely Secure Majority Rural Land Rights? A Review of Decentralizing Land Administration in Africa

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Wily, Liz Alden
Conference: EGDI and UNU-WIDER Conference Unlocking Human Potential: Linking the Informal and Formal Sectors
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Conf. Date: September 17-18
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8032
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): land tenure and use
customary law
common pool resources
Abstract: "This paper reviews current land reform developments in Africa as a means of determining how far and in what manner informal land interests are being catered for. The overall finding is that whilst the back of century-long inattention to customary tenure has been broken, new norms through which customary and especially common property interests may be formally secured need further evolution. Of related concern is the difficulty being experienced in making promised changes real on the ground; it is concluded that the land sector as a whole is failing to adopt sufficiently localized and empirical approaches to produce practicality in design and the level of public ownership needed to prompt and sustain uptake of new legal opportunities. Nonetheless, decentralisation of land administration as a whole is proving to be a potentially crucial conduit for the safe formalisation of informal land interests, and in ways that will definitively reduce their vulnerability."

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