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Overlapping Land & Resource Rights in Africa - slide presentation
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

07/26/2013

Gaia Larsen, Associate, World Resources Institute

In Africa, most land and many natural resources are the property of the state and/or vested in the government for the people. Governments have established separate, distinct rights regimes for land and many resources (e.g., oil, natural gas, minerals and wildlife), governed by different laws and administered by various institutions. Rural people may legally hold a relatively small bundle of land rightsusually limited to surface rights and some rights to certain natural resources (e.g., water rights for domestic use only). Often, rights to high-value natural resources are allocated to outside, foreign entities for large-scale operations. As a result, rights to various resources on/under a plot of land may be held by various individuals and entities. As governments promote economic development through private investments in their natural resources, instances of overlapping land and natural resource rights have become more common. Gaia LarsenOverlapping rights are a growing source of rural conflict as rights holders pursue sometimes contradictory land use practices. We provide a legal review of mineral and petroleum laws in Liberia, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya to assess the authorities of resource holders operating on private land and the rights of landholders. We provide some comparative analyses across the two natural resources and across the research countries. The recommendations are designed to reduce conflicts over land use and better secure the wellbeing of landholders.


Resources

Governance and Land