The Rwanda Land Management & Use Authority (RMLUA), the Netherlands embassy in Kigali (EKN) and the Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency (RVO) are delighted to announce a LAND-at-scale project in Rwanda. Together with Kadaster International and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the RMLUA, EKN and RVO will be collaborating on an ambitious project over the coming four years.
In 2009, the Government of Rwanda launched the Land Tenure Reform Programme. The programme gained international recognition regularizing land tenure at an unparalleled scale. Over eleven million land parcels were demarcated, and eight million land titles were issued to their rightful owners. A land administration information system was set up in a relatively short time. However, the journey to accomplish just and sustainable land governance is not yet over. Rwanda’s rapidly growing population combined with the effects of climate change have amplified the need for agricultural transformation and land use planning. At the same time, reducing the number of land disputes in the country would ease pressure on the courts.
The LAND-at-scale project will address these challenges while building on the rich history of land tenure improvements in the country. Further to the Government of Rwanda’s amendments to the National Land Policy and the enactment of the 2021 Law Governing Land, the LAND-at-scale project will contribute to improving the land registration and management systems and their implementing institutions. “The Government of Rwanda is committed to becoming a high income-country in 2050. We believe efficient land management is essential to realize this transformation and are pleased to be collaborating with LAND-at-scale partners to work towards achieving this,” says Esperance Mukamana, the Director General and Chief registrar of land titles at RMLUA.
Commencing this month, the LAND-at-scale project will focus on making the process, systems and institutions (financially) sustainable, while at the same time expanding the focus by integrating sustainable and climate-resilient land use planning as well as improving local dispute resolution. “Kadaster has been working with the RMLUA since 2008 to set up systems, procedures and institutions. We are happy that the LAND-at-scale project will allow us to move this collaboration to the next phase,” says Christelle van den Berg, regional coordinator for Africa at Kadaster International. “During this project, we will focus on strengthening capacities and assist the RMLUA to continue to deliver and improve their land services autonomously and in a sustainable way”.
IDLO’s contribution will focus local dispute resolution. The 2021 Law Governing Land in Rwanda together with the National Land Policy have established a new land dispute resolution mechanism which aims to reduce the pressure on the courts. “Through targeted activities, IDLO looks forward to working with the project partners to strengthen the legal capacity of the local mediators, Abunzi, and Cell Land Committees. Thereby, IDLO will be contributing to a more just decision-making process in land dispute cases nationwide,” says Romualdo Mavedzenge, IDLO’s Regional Program Manager for Africa.
The LAND-at-scale project in Rwanda is a joint effort between the Government of Rwanda and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “This partnership fits well with the Netherlands’ policy to ensure sustainability of the previous investments in development cooperation, while building stronger economic relations with Rwanda. An effective and reliable land governance system is a crucial element for private sector investment,” says Martin Koper, Deputy Head of Mission at the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali. He adds that the project has a strong focus on sustainability. “Activities revolve around strengthening local capacities to allow them to sustain and continuously improve land governance nationally and locally.”
Ultimately, the following five long-term outcomes are envisioned from the project:
- A resilient and sustainable Land administration, information and management system institutionalized.
- Enhanced, climate-resilient land use planning.
- Improved conflict management and dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Strengthened academic capacity to assist in further development of a fair and just land governance system
- Enhanced services to the people of Rwanda that boosts formal and reduces informal transactions.
Astrid Broekaart, programme coordinator at RVO believes the Rwanda project is a great example of LAND-at-scale’s vision: “Besides the strong focus on sustainability, the intervention promotes a holistic approach to land governance: not only focusing on land demarcation and registration but also leveraging it as a tool for combatting climate change or strengthening the position of women. We look forward to seeing what the collaboration with these great partners will bring about”.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds LAND-at-scale. This project in Rwanda is funded for 2,1 million Euros. To stay updated on this LAND-at-scale project and others, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter.