Rwanda LAND Report: The Implementation of Rwanda’s Expropriation Law and Outcomes on the Population

This report is one in a series of documents based on a study of the Implementation of Rwanda’s Expropriation Law and its Outcomes on the Population. The report presents findings from each stage of the study, including a literature review, qualitative research, and extensive quantitative research from a field survey of expropriated households in Rwanda.

Rwanda is developing at a remarkably rapid pace, and with that development has come a multitude of corresponding changes to the orientation and use of land throughout the country. In light of these changes, law n°18/2007 of 19/04/2007 relating to expropriation in the public interest was adopted to provide clear procedures for the government to follow in the taking of privately-owned land for other uses deemed to be in the public interest.

The two major themes of the research are: 1) the implementation of the law from the procedural perspective; and 2) assessing the effects of expropriation law and policy on expropriated households. The procedural rights examined in the research include aspects such as whether the concerned communities were involved in determining the “public interest” nature of the project, and whether expropriated households received sufficiently detailed notice at the proper time to adequately inform them that their properties would be expropriated. Procedural rights also concern whether expropriated individuals were given a fair valuation of their property by impartial valuers, and whether they had an opportunity to challenge aspects of the process they believed violated their rights, as well as whether compensation was provided in the proper time, and to all rights-holders. The assessment of socio-economic impacts of expropriation, the second prong of the research, aims to determine what types of impacts, both positive and negative, expropriation may have had on expropriated individuals’ lives and the communities in which these projects have been implemented. This includes both objective analysis (changes in income, etc.), and subjective analysis (changes in attitudes, perceptions, etc.).

In summary, the data obtained through this study revealed that insufficient and delayed compensation were the most important issues to property owners, government stakeholders, and expropriating institutions, which suggests the possibility for collaborative efforts to decrease delays and improve the integrity of the valuation process. The research also measures the price paid per square meter of expropriated land, revealing expected variations based on the character and location of the land. However, unexpected variations emerged based on the expropriating entity paying the compensation when controlling for the character of the land, project type, and other potentially confounding factors. These arbitrary differences in land values can be addressed by improving the independence of the valuation process and providing improved channels for citizen involvement in the valuation process.

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