Beyond concerns about agricultural productivity growth, issues of land governance have attracted global interest as demand for land acquisition by outsiders has increased rapidly but most of the transfers failed to live up to expectations and instead disrupted local livelihoods. We use the land governance assessment framework to identify key conceptual issues and identify how land governance in 10 African countries compares to global good practice. Results point towards weak protection of rights in practice, large gaps in female land access, and limited outreach and effectiveness of institutions to record rights and adjudicate disputes. We note that programs to improve performance along these lines had significant impact in other contexts, suggesting that efforts to improve land governance will be warranted and should be closely monitored and evaluated in an effort to identify models suited to African conditions and assess their impact and interaction with other factor markets.
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