After the end of the civil war, which lasted 16 years, Mozambique entered a period of national reconstruction and investment. During the war, a significant portion of the population moved to urban areas. However, the rural population nonetheless accounts for 63% of the total.
The Constitution of 2004 recognizes the state as owner of the land and it gives all Mozambicans the right to use and enjoy land as a means for the creation of wealth. It recognizes the rights to land acquired through inheritance or occupation. In addition, the 1997 Land Law protects the customary rights of communities to their traditional territories and these rights are considered equivalent to rights granted by the government. The Rural Land Law Regulations of 1998 establishes the process for the identification, acquisition, registration and transfer of land.
As the registration of land rights is not required by the Land Law, land disputes generally arise because the state or investors fail to recognize the nature of community land rights and uses. Other causes for conflicts are related to boundary disputes, inheritance and intra-family rights and land transactions. A formal court system has jurisdiction over land disputes, although the process is usually lengthy and expensive, and courts are often corrupted. As a consequence, the majority of the population uses informal mediation and conciliation processes to resolve disputes.