Two major innovations have inter alia emerged from the land reform in Madagascar: (i)
decentralised land management through the creation of local land offices, and (ii)
certification, which enables individuals to register private property provided the community
agrees on the legitimacy of the claimed rights.
Despite the political crisis and the withdrawal of international aid during this period (2009 -
2013), new local land offices have been created, and now cover a third of the country’s
communes. These Local Land Offices have had mixed success: 33% are operational 56% are
experiencing problems and 11% are inactive. They have the major advantage of breaking the
administrative monopoly on land matters, but face some serious challenges in updating their information systems, becoming financially sustainable (via the challenge of land tax
collection) and integrating the land governance system (co-arbitrating disputes and
managing land with customary authorities, dealing with local practices to secure land).
Far from being the preserve of the elite, certification seems to be relatively accessible to
women, migrants and those with little education. It is far more popular than registration, but
uptake is still low, with just 9% of households in communes with a land office applying for
certificates. This highlights the importance of separating the formalisation of land rights from processes that secure land tenure.
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