A law can be a powerful tool for poverty alleviation and rural development.
In most developing countries, a majority of the population lives in rural
areas. Most rural residents—and especially the poorest people—depend
on the land for their livelihoods and long-term social security. Laws that
give people access and secure rights to land and encourage investment in
the land can establish a foundation on which rural families can grow their
incomes and assets. Good land laws can help create an environment that
empowers rural communities, encourages economic growth, prevents land
conflicts, and provides opportunities for people to improve their lives.
Recognizing the potential power in a well-conceived law, Mozambique
drafted and enacted a new land law in the late 1990s. Many consider the
land law to be one of the world’s most progressive. For the first time in
Mozambique, a formal law recognized the land rights that communities and
individuals acquired through systems of customary land occupancy and use.
This achievement was only possible because the government coordinated
with civil society, academics, and donors to try to address Mozambique’s
post-conflict land issues.
Authors and Publishers
Tanner, Christopher &
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.