This case study has been produced in response to a request made to the
Evidence on Demand Helpdesk. The objective of the request was to provide
a detailed case study on the evolution of land policy in Mozambique and
provide the reader with insights into what is viewed as one of Africa’s
most progressive land laws, recognising multiple forms of tenure.
Mozambique has experienced accelerated rates of growth over the past
decade, averaging 7.2% per year, with projected growth rates of over 8%.
However, this high growth rate has failed to translate into significant
reductions in poverty and inequality has increased in almost all parts
of the country.
While growth has been driven by capital-intensive projects, mainly in
the extractives sector, agriculture is seen as an important foundation
for economic development and there has been a high level of interest in
acquiring large tracts of land for investment over the past six years.
Mozambique is one the most land-abundant countries in Africa, with
around 80 million hectares. Currently, only five million hectares are
cultivated, mainly by smallholders under rain-fed, traditional systems,
and only 3-5% of landholdings are formally registered.
Mozambique’s 1997 Land Law recognises the rights attached to customary
and long-term (10 years and over) occupation of land by communities and
individuals without needing a formal title. However, concerns that
tenure security is threatened by the trend in large-scale land
acquisition have led to moves by the government and donors to increase
the formal registration of landholdings and improve land information
systems. This is backed by a long-term exercise funded by donors to
strengthen community land rights by supporting land delimitation and the
demarcation of specific areas utilised by producer associations, a step
necessary for communities to be able to apply for formal community
titles. Donors have also supported the promotion of innovative models of
Donors are planning to continue to support improved land administration
and management through land tenure regularisation and land-use planning,
and by rolling out a land information management system nationwide.
Other opportunities for donor support include: enhancing awareness of
rights and responsibilities under the Land Law and Regulation,
particularly for women; deepening ongoing efforts to develop effective
mechanisms and fora to resolve land disputes; developing further
opportunities for innovative community-investor partnerships; improving
land policy/legal consultation mechanisms; strengthening current
investment project review processes; and supporting monitoring of land
allocation and project implementation. This would usefully be
underpinned by the strengthened coordination of donor engagement on
This report has been produced by the Overseas Development Institute
(ODI) with the assistance of the UK Department for International
Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment,
Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied
Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by HTSPE
Limited and IMC Worldwide Limited.
Locke, A. Mozambique land policy development case study. Evidence on Demand, UK (2014) 24 pp. [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_hd.march2014.locke]