Despite the abundance of its natural resources, in Cameroon 40% of the population is poor, especially women and children, and concentrated in rural areas.
The Constitution of 1996 states that citizens have the right to own property individually or in association with others. Two Ordinances also regulate land tenure in Cameroon; Ordinance No. 74-1 of 1974 and Ordinance No. 74-2 of 1974 have created a tenure system based on land registration. All privately-owned land must be registered in order to be considered private land. National land includes unoccupied land and land held under customary law. Rural land is generally regulated by customary law, which is managed by traditional local leaders who serve as land administrators; they give rights to individual families, and generally these rights are heritable through the male line.
Due to changing land use patterns, land degradation and lack of specific land policies, land disputes are common in Cameroon. In addition, as Cameroon does not have a system of cadastre and the costs for the registration of the land are high, land conflicts related to land transactions and land records are also frequent.