Date of publication
Noviembre 2016
Geographical focus

In post-conflict settings, securing tenure of local smallholders is considered of major importance to reduce and prevent local land disputes, to contribute to the recovery of rural livelihoods, and to improve agricultural production. Registration and other ways of formalizing land ownership are generally believed to significantly enhance local tenure security and rural development. Our research in Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan suggests, however, that post-conflict settings pose particular challenges to the formalization of land ownership, which may, for instance, ignite conflict and competition, or add to confusion about local ownership and tenure security.

A particular challenge is how to improve the land tenure security of women, who experience specific vulnerabilities in accessing land, notably in postconflict settings. Both customary and statutory tenure arrangements pose opportunities as well as threats to securing women’s access to land.

Date of publication
Noviembre 2016
Geographical focus

After conflict, governments and donors often feel a need for up-scaling and modernizing land use. There is an ambition to achieve economic recovery and contribute to food security through stimulating large-scale investment in land. Our research in Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan suggests that policymakers should be extremely careful when promoting large-scale land acquisitions, both foreign and national. Especially in the difficult transition from war to peace, large-scale appropriation of land risks becoming a threat to tenure security and the recovery of rural livelihoods.

The second part of this infosheet analyses ongoing transformations in and policies on pastoralism in the Great Lakes Region, which also has a significant effect on rural livelihoods and land use patterns. Pastoralism is widespread in the region, and plays an important role in contestation over land. Issues at stake are the increasing enclosure of former communal lands, competition with other land users, and limitations on cross-border movement. Pastoralists are perceived as privileged by incumbent power holders, which adds to contestation, while small pastoralists are marginalized by their elite brothers. 

Date of publication
Noviembre 2016
Geographical focus

Disputes over land are a prominent feature of many situations of protracted violent conflict in Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan. Research conducted as part of the programme ‘Grounding Land Governance’ underscores that war reshuffles access and ownership, but also critically changes the ways in which land is governed. Land issues often come to resonate with other conflicts in society, thereby affecting overall stability. This makes interventions in land governance politically sensitive. While intended to improve land governance practices, reforms often result in unintended and unpredictable outcomes, and have significant impacts for the legitimacy of the state. We therefore conclude that land governance in post-conflict settings deserves particular attention from academics and policymakers.

The second part of this infosheet discusses decentralization, which is a prominent feature of reform programmes throughout the region. Our studies found that transferring responsibilities for land administration and dispute resolution to local government and non-state institutions may indeed enhance the protection of local properties and reduce land-related conflicts. Likewise, it may fuel existing power struggles, or effectively enhance the power of the state. Policymakers should therefore not have too high expectations about the ability of decentralization to enhance local tenure security.

Date of publication
Septiembre 2012

 The Central African region includes Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe. The region is characterized by its high diversity, as it reflects all types of ecosystems of the continent. The region is most known as hosting one of the world’s richest forest biodiversity as well as valuable natural resources such as mineral resources and oil. The population of Central African region was estimated at some 121 000 000 inhabitants in 2007. However this population is unevenly distributed. While certain countries as Burundi are experiencing high population density (300 inhabitants/ Km2) others have less than 5 inhabitants/ Km2. In all countries of the region, rapid urbanisation is a heavy change trend. The region has a specific political and institutional context, due to a complex colonial history. France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Spain are among the European colonial powers who dominated the region.

State sovereignty over land is common in quite all Central African countries, and is usually associated with non recognition of customary based land rights held by local communities. Other top land issues in the region include: lack of clear land policy, inadequate land laws and legal pluralism; gender issues with special attention to access of women and indigenous people; weak capacity in land policy development and implementation; excessive centralization of land administration systems and poor land governance. All these issues converged in fueling some of the major crisis and conflicts in the continent. Key land policy challenges in the region relates to: good governance of land resources, including participation of non state actors in land policy processes; sustainable management of natural resources, forests in particular; economic growth and poverty alleviation; peace and security.

Current land policies and laws in the region are deeply influenced by the colonial legacy. Customary based land rights are denied by these laws while state sovereignty over land is strongly proclaimed. The region showed very little experience in land policy formulation and in participatory approaches. Most land related reforms undertaken are done through sectoral and ad hoc interventions. Through Ministries in charge of lands and domain, the state plays a prominent role in land policy implementation. In certain instances, semi-public agencies are established to assume specific responsibilities such as financing social housing programmes. However non state and even informal actors are tolerated as they appear to be useful in filling the void left by the state in certain areas. Urban Development Master Plans and Land Occupation Plans are tools most commonly developed and used in urban and pre-urban areas. However, rural areas lack specific land tools, which resulted in poor effectiveness of land policy and laws in the rural areas and to increasing conflicts related to land in the region.

Currently, there is no significant experience of land policy development process in Central Africa. Apart from efforts to simplify procedures for issuing land titles, key land policy changes in the region are observed mainly in specific sectors such as forests and mining. 

In order to make progress in land policy development and implementation in Central Africa, it is crucial to promote participatory monitoring and evaluation of land policy processes, in order to learn from past successes and failure and improve future land policy processes. In this respect, building appropriate human, institutional and financial capacity is a pre-requisite.

Date of publication
Mayo 2012
Geographical focus

The study on the sources of rural growth
in Burundi results from a meticulous work carried out by
eminent experts of the World Bank in response to a request
of the Government of Burundi. It describes the global
environment, which explains poverty aggravation and builds
proposals to overcome most binding constraints to growth in
Burundi. This study is an important contribution in the
fight against poverty, as it identifies ways to resume
growth in the rural world, which accounts for 90 percent of
employment, represents more than 50 percent of gross
domestic product (GDP), and over 80 percent of export
earnings. Increasing rural income will have large multiplier
effects on the national economy. This will enable breaking
the vicious circle of poverty and starting a virtuous circle
of economic growth and poverty reduction. The study
underlines that reforming export-crop sub-sectors such as
coffee, tea, and horticulture will help increase
participation in higher value specialty markets. Entering
these market segments will increase export revenues and
producers' incomes.

Date of publication
Septiembre 2013
Geographical focus

The financial sector, dominated by the
banks, is vulnerable to external shocks. The country is
exposed to terms of trade shocks mainly from coffee and oil
prices, which could impact banks through real sector
effects. The banking system is also vulnerable to a decline
in external assistance which funds nearly half of the
government on which a large share of the economy depends.
Burundi has not been directly affected by the international
crisis, but second round effects are likely to impact growth
and foreign aid prospects The Bank of the Republic of
Burundi (BRB) is making major efforts to improve the
regulation and supervision of the financial institutions
under its responsibility, but it continues to face
significant obstacles The microfinance sector is facing
major challenges, and its supervision reflects the
constraints affecting the BRB. All the on-site inspections
organized by the BRB revealed serious problems and
violations of prudential rules, in particular in the areas
of accounting, governance, or the absence of reliable
internal controls. In order to put the industry on a sound
footing, it is essential to: (i) update the regulatory
framework to facilitate the growth of a sound industry and
introduce a specific chart of accounts; (ii) develop
supervision that is capable of preserving the health of the
sector, and of deposits in particular; and (iii) promote the
professionalization of the industry itself, with improved
human capacities, appropriate management tools, modern
methodologies, and good governance.

Date of publication
Marzo 2012
Geographical focus

This Country Economic Memorandum (CEM)
is the first for Burundi since the 1980s. It has been
developed in collaboration with the government of Burundi.
The CEM has been prepared in cooperation with the African
development bank and the U.K. department for international
development. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the
world, and has suffered from many years of civil conflict
and its consequences. In the last years, peace has been
established and a promising recovery of the economy has
started. Economic growth rates, however, are not in line
with what has been projected in the latest poverty reduction
strategy paper (September 2006). Real Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) growth had been projected to average almost 7 percent
between 2006 and 2009 in that strategy paper, but actual
growth will average just above 4 percent for the same
period. The report reviews the economic developments in the
past and tries to identify the most binding constraints to
growth. The CEM then sets out a strategy to address these
constraints to promote increased and participatory growth,
reduce poverty, and improve the livelihood of the
population. The report draws on a number of background
studies conducted on various subjects relevant to the
country's economic development and on existing reports
and studies from the government of Burundi, the World Bank,
other donors, and academics. The CEM provides a synthesis of
various recommendations and attempts to prioritize and
sequence key actions.

Date of publication
Marzo 2013
Geographical focus

A reform in Burundi's coffee sector
is currently under way. Even though the reform was launched
by the government of Burundi in 1992, it was only in 2008
that implementation fully started. The purpose of the reform
is to restructure the coffee sector, focusing on the
following processes: privatization of the industrial units
(especially washing and hulling units), liberalization of
government control among the production and export agencies,
and reform of the state coffee institutions. To improve the
reform process, a Rapid Strategic Environmental Assessment
(R-SEA) was recommended. The goal of this RSEA is to analyze
the environmental and socioeconomic aspects along the entire
coffee value chain to provide strategic direction for the
sustainability of coffee production, processing, and
commercialization. This report is divided into six sections:
(i) introduction; (ii) a description of Burundi's
coffee sector; (iii) a brief explanation of the reform in
the coffee sector; (iv) a description of the environ
environmental and socioeconomic issues and gaps in the
coffee sector, as well as recommendations for addressing
them; (v) an action plan outlining priority activities to be
developed in the short and medium term, and (vi) conclusions.


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