Land Administration in the developing world
A resource for students and practitioners

The processes of land administration include the determination of rights, interests and other attributes of the land, the survey and description of these, their detailed documentation and the provision of relevant information in support of tenure systems and land markets. To do this, it is necessary to have administering institutions that are accessible and accountable and have both legal backing and social legitimacy. To be accessible, these institutions must be appropriate and affordable, and in circumstances where they must cater for both the poor and the rich the services they provide must be affordable with flexibility to cater for diverse customers or able to adapt to changing social and economic conditions.

Land Administration is an enabling infrastructure. It is institutional, informational and service-orientated. Effective land administration must provide:

Current land administration trends emphasise:

Land administration is a means to an end; it is a good government activity and an essential ingredient for orderly socio-economic development. However, the need for land administration, or a form or model of land administration, varies by context. Within a country or jurisdiction there can often be found a division between urban and rural land administration, illustrated by the ongoing global campaign for secure tenure.  Another defining context would be in post-conflict situations; another where there is increasing pressures on land, with disputes and underlying drivers for tenure reform. Institutionally, land administration is often divided into formal (national or local government) or informal (customary) systems, with a blurred and uncertain interface shaped by the performance of systems and motivation of individuals.

In a developing world context, land administration is typically problematic: It is characterized by high transactions costs, legal ambiguity, institutional and organizational dysfunction, poor performance and unclear policy. Even so, there are success stories, lessons learned from failures or partial sucesses, and increasing recognition that land administration must be appropriate, transparent, and inclusive; above all, the systems (for there can be more than one, or variants of the same) must be affordable to the user and the country.

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The website is maintained by Sean Johnson, a land administration specialist consultant based in South Africa. Sean has worked for over 25 years in Africa and the Caribbean on programmes and projects of land administration reform and capacity building.












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Land Administration

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