Uganda: Jord og økonomiske aktiviteter

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Diis Working Paper 2012:13 – Land Tenure and Economic Activities in Uganda: A review of the literature – gennemgår hvordan ejerskab til jord og jordens udnyttelse er af afgørende betydning for økonomisk udvikling.

Land is an important asset for people and for economic development in Uganda, where the majority of people live in rural areas. How land is held and how land is administered are of fundamental importance.

This review examines the literature on Uganda’s tenure systems, including the legal and administrative frameworks and their implementation at the local level.

It analyses the relations between these elements and tenure security in the country. Finally, it discusses the various ways in which land may relate to economic activities.

Uganda’s land reform, introduced with the 1998 Land Act, is taken as a point of departure. The reform aims at enhancing tenure security by recognising existing rights to land and decentralising land administration.

It also aims at promoting a more effective use of land and improving the market in land by strengthening the land administration and supporting the registration of titles, thereby stimulating investment.

However, the reform’s implementation has been slow and partial so far, for several reasons.

The literature reviewed shows that the division of labour between land administration institutions at the different administrative levels is not clearly spelled out, and that, often, these institutions – for instance dispute settlement institutions – are inaccessible at the local level.

The working paper shows that despite a number of in-depth case studies of land and land markets, the existing literature does not deliver any conclusive answers about the extent to which different forms of land tenure affect economic activities in different parts of Uganda. Land markets exist irrespective of the tenure systems.

As far as access to credit is concerned, it is still quite limited, and not primarily linked to titled land as some scholars suggest. Regional differences, the urban/rural divide and social and gender characteristics are equally important.

The lack of conclusive evidence despite the extensive literature shows a need for more systematic empirical research comparing the relationship between the different tenure systems and economic activities.

However, findings from several authors point to links between land conflicts, in particular in the post-conflict context of northern Uganda, and disinvestment and lower productivity.

This suggests that a likely path to strengthening agricultural production would be the strengthening both in reach and scope of dispute settlement institutions.

More specifically regarding women, research has shown that despite the existence of a gender-sensitive legal framework in Uganda, women are discriminated against in both the customary and the statutory settings.

Therefore, improving women’s access to land by reinforcing women’s rights at the local level, would be a fundamental step and interventions should target the entire range of institutions that are important for women’s access to land.

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