Legal empowerment of the poor through property rights reform | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
March 2017
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Land registration and titling in Africa has been seen as a means of legal empowerment of the poor that can protect smallholders’ and pastoralists’ rights of access to land and other landbased resources. Land registration is also on the ethnojustice agenda in parts of Africa and beyond. Yet legal empowerment via registration and titling is also advocated by those who push for the market-enhancing and aggregate growth-promoting commodification of property rights, whereby market forces will transfer land out of the hands of smallholders and into the hands of ‘those who can make most efficient or productive use of it’. This paper contrasts these different visions of legal empowerment

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Catherine Boone


The World Institute for Development Economics Research began operations in 1985 in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University.

Today it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency – providing a range of services from policy advice to governments as well as freely available original research coordinated by a core group of resident and non-resident researchers and undertaken by a global network of collaborators.

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The South African Land Observatory is an initiative whose overall objective is to promote evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa. As its name ‘Observatory’ suggests, it collects data and information on land. The initiative is a repository of what is published on land in South Africa and on the events that take place around land in South Africa.

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