Consensus, Confusion, and Controversy : Selected Land Reform Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa
Land reform can broadly be divided into land tenure reform-the establishment of secure and formalized property rights in land-and land redistribution-the transfer of land from large to small farmers. The paper is therefore divided into two chapters. The first chapter gives a short narrative of some of the key land tenure and land policy issues. While these issues remain politically sensitive, there is a solid consensus emerging on how to deal with them, but only once the confusion surrounding private and common property, and formal and informal rights, is cleared. In particular, secure property rights should not be confused with full private "ownership." The second chapter addresses the redistribution of property rights in land from large to small farmers-redistributive land reform. There is a heightened sense of urgency on the need to address land redistribution, especially in the former settler colonies in Southern Africa, but controversy exists on the appropriate implementation mechanisms. The case of South Africa is highlighted, because success there would have tremendous regional and international implications for land redistribution. A policy framework for redistributive land reform is outlined, within which the competing paradigms compete there where it actually matters: on the ground.
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