Supporting the Policy Environment for Economic Development

Land Sector Reform Memorandum


The purpose of this Memorandum is to request written approval for SPEED+ to undertake a series of activities aimed at legal, regulatory and institutional reform in Mozambique’s land administration sector. Following a period of analysis beginning with USAID’s own assessment mission, conducted in November 2016, and continuing through May 2017 with an in-depth scoping mission undertaken by SPEED+ consultants, we recommend support for legal framework reform beginning in 2017, coupled with small-scale local level implementation to validate the reform approach.


The work would begin with drafting and advocating approval for a series of new or amended legal instruments, aimed at bringing more clarity and transparency to the land sector. The legal instruments targeted would range from lower level administrative rules, such as “Ordens de Serviço” or “Circulares” issued by the Director of DINAT (Direcção Nacional de Terras), to higher-level ministerial “Despachos” and “Diplomas,” and eventually to “Decretos” by the Council of Ministers that would amend the 1998 Land Law Regulations and other relevant regulations. In addition, the program should consider at least initiating a debate about adjustments to the 1997 Land Law which would have to be approved by the national Assembly.

SPEED+ also recommends a simultaneous small-scale intervention at the local district level to validate certain aspects of the recommended reform approach, such as decentralization of land administrative functions and registration of all land rights (community, individual, public and corporate) in a given geographic target area, whenever systematic regularization campaigns are implemented.

The overall goal of the effort is to stimulate an increase in land-based investment, primarily agriculture, but would also include other investments such as housing or light industry which require secure access to land. Bringing more transparency and clarity into the process of acquiring secure leasehold access to land via DUATs (Direito de Uso e Aproveimento de Terra) will lead to increased transactions of leaseholds and eventually to a more market-oriented allocation of land rights, while still protecting the rights of the most vulnerable, including women and the poor. The more efficient allocation of land rights, accompanied by increased investment, will lead to greater productivity and thus economic growth.