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Library Land in Africa: an indispenable element towards increasing the wealth of the poor

Land in Africa: an indispenable element towards increasing the wealth of the poor

Land in Africa: an indispenable element towards increasing the wealth of the poor

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Date of publication
December 2001
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The poor in Mozambique survive off the land, but what would the consequences be if the land was privatised? This paper looks at how Mozambique is approaching issues surrounding land usage and ownership as market reforms take place and the land becomes increasingly susceptible to being opened up to the market.A historical background to the issue of land use and ownership in Africa is given, from colonisation to the impact of globalisation and the market in present day Africa. The author suggests that:where the neo-liberal model of land reform took place, rather than land being used for productive ends, monopolisation and land speculation occuredthere were those among the poor who reverted to the condition of being ‘landless’, having to resort to leasing the land urban dwelling large landowners who invested nothing towards the improvement of the lands under their controlcredit did not flow as had been foreseen, because the commercial banks did not accept the land of the poor as collateralthe state’s compensation system for redistribution of land at the market price of the land ended up as a big problem for governments genuinely concerned with the welfare of the poorThe author concludes that:land needs public and private investment and, under current conditions, it cannot be transformed into goods that can be perfectly converted into capitalaccess to land must be guaranteed to all persons who wish to worksecurity of land tenure begins by recognising occupation rights and may be terminated by private appropriation with social limitations by the consubstantiated in the state’s institutionsland may and must be used as the poor people’s capitalthe persuasion mechanisms of the local institutions must be institutionalised into the administration of the physical spaceThe paper concludes by describing the Land Campaign that led to the building of an institutional framework encapsulated in the Mozambique Land Law of 1997

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J. Negrão

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