Overview: Current Land Tenure Impact Evaluations

Evaluations 1 and 2Evaluation 3Evaluation 4Evaluation 5Evaluation 6
Ethiopia Pastoral Land Project: Evaluating how a new approach to formalizing the land rights of pastoral communities in the Afar and Oromia regions of Ethiopia impacts land management, livelihoods, climate change resilience, and conflict.
Ethiopia Farmland Rights Projects: Evaluating the impact of land certification on access to credit, land conflict, land rentals, soil and water conservation, and women’s empowerment.
Zambia Community Forest Project: Evaluating how a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) project impacts land tenure, livelihoods, and benefit sharing in forested areas.
Zambia Agroforestry Project: Evaluating the impacts of agroforestry extension and customary tenure strengthening on agricultural investment and other land use practices, including uptake of climate smart agriculture activities.
Tanzania Customary Land Project: Evaluating the impacts of documenting villagers’ land rights on tenure security, land investment, youth and women’s empowerment, and conflict.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests stronger land tenure security has a positive impact on important development outcomes, such as increased agricultural investment, women’s empowerment, agricultural productivity, enhanced functioning of rental markets, and access to credit. While the initial empirical evidence is encouraging, important knowledge gaps remain. Compared with the positive economic and food security gains seen from land tenure formalization programs in Asia and Latin America, results from similar programs in Africa have been mixed. There is also little evidence on the impact of alternative approaches to strengthening tenure, such as supporting customary land governance institutions or communal land certification, as opposed to more common efforts focused on land titling and the formalization of individual property rights.

In this context, USAID is currently supporting or has recently concluded six rigorous impact evaluations in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia, and a rigorous performance evaluation in Liberia, to test development questions relevant to eliminating extreme poverty, enhancing food security, improving natural resource management, empowering women, improving climate change resilience, mitigating conflict, and promoting democratic governance and resilience.