Mozambique: Even a Progressive Land Law Needs Revision after a Generation of Experience

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

Mozambique is widely regarded as having a modern and progressive land tenure framework. However, implementation has not always lived up to the promise of the original law. Twenty years of experience have revealed several areas in which the legal framework would benefit from revision and better serve its primary aims of promoting productive land use while still protecting legitimate customary land rights.

Topics that were once off-limit – for example, loosening the restrictions on land rights transfers in rural areas – are now being discussed and openly debated. The time is ripe to address this and other weaknesses in the legal framework and thereby catalyze investment, increase productivity and enhance transparency in land administration. This paper examines the existing legal framework and prioritizes recommendations to achieve the above-mentioned goals while simultaneously safeguarding legitimate land rights of communities and individuals.

Key Words: Mozambique, legal reform, land markets, community land.