Zambia recognizes two types of land tenure: customary and leasehold tenure. While historically the majority of land in Zambia has been held under customary tenure, leases (also called leasehold titles) are the only legal means of holding land rights.
In 1995, a new Land Act was passed, which makes it easier for investors to acquire leasehold titles to customary land. When an investor obtains a leasehold title to customary land, the customary land reverts to the state once the lease expires and is thereafter governed by statute. The erosion of customary rights that results from conversion is particularly burdensome on rural communities that depend on customary lands for drinking water, firewood, livestock, and other resources (Brown 2005).
This brief analyzes the conversion process and its impact on rural communities, and discusses proposed solutions for securing customary land rights in Zambia.
Authors and Publishers
Nicholas K. Tagliarino
Focus on Land in Africa (FOLA) is an educational resource for development practitioners and policy makers that explores how land and natural resource rights affect, and are effected by, development in Africa. Through raising awareness of these issues, FOLA aims to elevate land and natural resource rights as an urgent priority for development in Africa.