Supporting the Policy Environment for Economic Development

Mozambique: Even a Progressive Land Law Needs Revision After a Generation of Experience

By Ian Rose

Mozambique has benefitted from a widely respected legal framework for land that has served its purposes well since enactment in 1997. However, Mozambican society and economy has matured in these past 21 years and it is therefore an appropriate time to update this legal framework in order to meet the needs of Mozambique in 2018. We can facilitate access to land by enacting streamlined and less restrictive procedures for acquiring and transferring land rights, in both urban and rural areas -- while still protecting legitimate customary, community and smallholder land rights. SPEED+ is supporting the government of Mozambique to draft appropriate modifications, or in some cases new legal instruments, to achieve these goals.

As demand for access to agricultural land increases—whether from national investors, international conglomerates, or just a local smallholder wishing to increase the size of his or her farm—the pressure for clarity and transparency in land administration has grown accordingly.

By facilitating transferability of DUATs we can create a market in land use rights -- not a market in land per se, because the state must remain the owner of land and this principle remains unquestioned. The result will be a more efficient allocation of land to those persons and companies with the capital and capacity to make the land more productive. We can attack the problem of “terra ociosa” of land with this market-based approach.

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