The New York Times reported that Greece’s land administration system is a major impediment to economic growth. After a history of occupations, wars, and shifting population centers, less than 7 percent of the country has been properly mapped, while most land transaction records are handwritten and lack clear boundaries or zoning. Property ownership is often unclear, especially in rural areas, and that has led to competing claims for property and a backlog of court cases.
According to the article, “As Greece tries to claw its way out of an economic crisis of historic proportions, one that has left 60 percent of young people without jobs, many experts cite the lack of a proper land registry as one of the biggest impediments to progress. It scares off foreign investors; makes it hard for the state to privatize its assets, as it has promised to do in exchange for bailout money; and makes it virtually impossible to collect property taxes.”
USAID recognizes that clear, secure, and negotiable rights to land and resources are an essential foundation for trade and a key component of a growth-friendly enabling environment.