Africa

This is a summary of a report of findings from 10 countries including Senegal and Nigeria.

This report documents the tragic reality that under both statutory and customary law, the overwhelming majority of women in Sub-Saharan Africa (including Nigeria and Senegal) – regardless of their marital status- cannot own or inherit land, housing and other property in their own rights. Instead, in respect of access to land and housing, women are made entirely dependent on their relationship to a male.

This is a new edition of a continent-wide set of profiles first published 10 years previously. The brevity of the profiles and the standardised comparisons make this a useful reference. The profiles reflect a decade of work on Africa by the Land Tenure Centre, University of Wisconsin. They take into recent developments and the persistence of land tenure as a “volatile policy domain”.

The debate over land law reform in Africa has been framed as a referendum on the market – that is, as a debate pitting advocates of the growth-promoting individualization of property rights against those who call for protecting the livelihoods and subsistence rights of small farmers. This article argues that the prospect of land law reform also raises a complex bundle of constitutional issues. In many African countries, debates over land law reform are turning into referenda on the nature of citizenship, political authority, and the future of the liberal nation state itself.
This article argues that despite laws which give women equal rights to land, women continue to be blocked from land control by cultural and economic factors.
In the context of the current food crisis confronting most sub-Saharan African economies the need to unmask the identities of rural producers from a gender perspective is reinforced. This article focuses on three major issues which have tended towards ambiguity in analyses of rural political economy. First, the question of women's differential land use rights is analysed in terms of the impact agricultural modernisation has had on traditional status. Second, the complexity in household form and composition is drawn out.

This is a report of a workshop organized by the USAID which sought to highlight the discrepancies between women’s land rights under the law and popular perceptions of those rights, as identified during consultations with the State, outline policy and legal trends related to women’s land rights in other countries in the region and elicit policy recommendations for the draft GOSS land policy intended to expand and strengthen women’s land rights.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sudan Property Rights Programme (SPRP) is working with Southern Sudan Land Commission (SSLC) to develop a land policy for the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). The policy will be based upon an extensive programme of public consultation and research. Throughout consultations in each southern Sudan’s 10 states, women’s land rights were a contentious subject, particularly related to land ownership by women in rural areas. Further, women were not always adequately represented in some State consultations.

This paper reviews the reality of women’s land and property rights in three Eastern Africa countries: Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. It considers legal and other impediments hindering these rights in situations of conflict and reconstruction. It also outlines the practical problems faced by women in connection with the legal and traditional structures regarding land and property rights, and makes some suggestions about how the situation can be rectified.

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