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Structures and Stratagems: Making Decentralization of Authority over Land in Africa Cost-Effective

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  • Bruce, John W.
  • Knox, Anna
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    Abstract

    Summary Community-led land tenure reform requires specification of "the community," and this raises long-standing issues concerning the balance between civil and traditional local authorities in Africa. Recent experience with decentralization of authority over land suggests that the cost of creating new local land administration capacities is high. A less costly option is reliance at least in part upon traditional authorities, who de facto retain considerable popular legitimacy and still control land in much of rural Africa, and experience suggests opportunities for creative institutional amalgams of civil and traditional local authority. There are very considerable differences among traditional authority structures in Africa, and so the potential of this approach will vary from case to case. In developing such decentralized systems, the interests of transparency and accountability will best be served by creating checks and balances between the different levels of land administration.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VC6-4WCK0DF-1/2/f85c9dc64e213ed7cae84c7bf0860025
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1360-1369

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:8:p:1360-1369

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

    Related research

    Keywords: decentralization land tenure property rights land administration Africa;

    References

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    1. Gebremedhin, Berhanu & Pender, John L. & Tesfaye, Girmay, 2000. "Community natural resource management: the case of woodlots in northern Ethiopia," EPTD discussion papers 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Diana Hunt, 2004. "Unintended Consequences of Land Rights Reform: The Case of the 1998 Uganda Land Act," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 22(2), pages 173-191, 03.
    3. World Bank, 2004. "Decentralization in Madagascar," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14921, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Deininger, Klaus & Goldstein, Markus, 2011. "Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa : pilot evidence from Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5765, The World Bank.
    2. Naughton-Treves, Lisa & Wendland, Kelly, 2014. "Land Tenure and Tropical Forest Carbon Management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 1-6.
    3. Sikor, Thomas & Müller, Daniel & Stahl, Johannes, 2009. "Land Fragmentation and Cropland Abandonment in Albania: Implications for the Roles of State and Community in Post-Socialist Land Consolidation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1411-1423, August.

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