Land Governance and Law
Land governance addresses the ways in which decisions about the use of and control over land are made, implemented and enforced, and the way that competing interests are managed. In African countries, land governance is carried out by statutory, customary and religious institutions. Land administration and governance are closely related. Land administration focuses on the institutions and rules that manage land, while land governance embodies the larger political context in which land is managed.
As land is one of the most basic resources available to individuals and societies, most national constitutions and legislation define the tenets of land governance. However, many additional laws and regulations affect land governance including marriage and inheritance laws, and natural resources such as water and forests.
In many African countries, customary practices play a major role in land governance. The vast majority of rural people in sub-Saharan Africa, including small-scale farmers and pastoralists, access land and natural resources based on customary practices, rules and institutions. Many nations are working to harmonize statutory and customary approaches to land governance.