Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data
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11 August 2022
Authors: 
Sarah Lowery
Africa
Mozambique

In Mozambique, community land rights are recognised under the country’s progressive land laws. Yet many private-sector companies also hold long-term leases on wide swathes of land that once belonged to communities. Here, Sarah Lowery of USAID’s Land and Resource Governance Division  discusses how USAID partnered with agroforestry firm Green Resources to help it responsibly divest its land-use rights back to local communities. 

How private-sector leaseholds affect community land rights

      
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In Côte d'Ivoire, land issues are crucial for agricultural development, social peace and the legitimacy of political authorities. From 1960 to 1980, the country experienced strong economic growth due to the vigour of the agricultural sector, in particular cash crops for export. Encouraged by the policies of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny (in power from 1960 to 1993), several migrants, both Ivorians and foreigners, settled in the south of the country to practice agriculture. The "Ivorian miracle" ran out of steam in the 1980s. From 1999 to 2011, Côte d'Ivoire went through a series of political crises and ethnic violence related to access to land.

Shifting cultivation in forested area. Photo by Axel Fassio, CIFOR, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

The DRC has been described as “a rich country of poor people”. It covers an area of 2,345,410 km². It has a population of some 89 million people and a surface area equivalent to that of Western Europe. It is the largest country by area in sub–Saharan Africa. Four national languages are recognised, but overall, more than 200 languages are spoken within its borders, albeit with varying reaches.

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Photo by UNICEF Ethiopia. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One third of the world’s soils - including farmland, forests, rangelands, and urban land - are already degraded and it is estimated that this number could rise to almost 90% by 2050. Land Degradation occurs naturally, but research shows that land degradation is increasingly caused directly or indirectly by unsustainable human activities, notably deforestation, overgrazing, mining or intensive agriculture. This has driven biodiversity loss, desertification, and led to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

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