In recent years, Rwanda has seen robust economic growth and human development. School enrollment, parity in boys’ and girls’ education, and child and maternal health have all improved. The country has significantly reduced infant mortality, poverty, and income inequality.
In tandem with this progress, the Government of Rwanda has implemented a nationwide Land Tenure Reform Program, which demarcated, adjudicated, and registered nearly all individual land holdings between 2004 and 2012. Land registration has brought increased land security to many of the rural poor, while increasing opportunities and incentives for people to invest in their farms and livelihoods.
In 2004, the Land Tenure Reform Program began to establish a legal and institutional framework for land. The government adopted an Organic Land Law (2005) that recognizes customary land ownership and equal land rights for men and women. Land registration is mandatory under the law, and by 2012, 10.3 million land parcels had been registered. The government continues to issue land titles and to resolve thousands of disputed land claims, many of which are a legacy of mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which was followed by years of dislocation and multiple waves of returning refugees. Land titles are also expected to help smallholder farmers to use land as collateral for bank loans, and to increase investments in agriculture.