• Is Land Title Registration the Answer to Insecure and Uncertain Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa?

      Abdulai, Raymond Talinbe (RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), 2006)
      The importance of security and certainty of land tenure cannot be overemphasized. A key justification for it is that it provides incentives for investment in land and therefore an impetus for sustainable economic development. In the customary land sector in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), land is vested in communities represented by families/clans, tribes and chiefs. These families/clans, tribes and chiefs are commonly referred to as traditional landholding institutions. It is, however, believed that property rights to land emanating from these institutions are insecure and uncertain, implying a disincentive to investment and therefore a barrier to economic development. This belief appears to be premised on the fact that customary ownership of land is not formally recorded or registered. Thus, since the colonial era, governments have been embarking on various land title registration programmes supposedly to guarantee greater security and certainty of customary land tenure for sustainable development. Evidence, however, abounds in the sub region to indicate that: (a) land title registration has done little to guarantee security and certainty of land tenure; and (b) there is no clearly discernible link between land title registration and investment behaviour. These form the basis of the thesis pursued in this paper. The paper argues that increasing security and certainty of land tenure does not necessarily require the registration of land titles and therefore defines the ingredients of secure and certain land rights. (RICS)