Publication: Insecurity of Land Tenure, Land Law and Land Registration in Liberia

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Date
2008-10-22
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Published
2008-10-22
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World Bank
Abstract
To implement the vision of fostering economic development, social equity, and a transparent and effective government, the Government of Liberia has outlined key transitions that need to be accomplished. These include the development of infrastructure (roads, electricity), schools, job creation and transition from war, civil conflict and social polarization to a well functioning society in which economic opportunities are fostered and distributed equitably. Yet clearly, reform of the land tenure system is also a priority of Government. This is because effective land policy makes an enormous contribution to improve the investment climate of Liberia, ensure maximum use efficiency of land; increase land based revenues and improves equity in the access and use of land, thereby reducing social polarization and violence. Today, security of land tenure in today's Liberia is weak to non-existent. Some of the key problems include the following: a) the legal distinction between public land and tribal lands lacks clarity, resulting in tensions between government, which has long asserted ownership of and the right to alienate large areas of land occupied by traditional communities, and those communities, who regard this land as their own; and b) key land administration agencies have lost human and technical capital, and debilitated and need to be rebuilt istration agencies have lost human and technical capital, and debilitated and need to be rebuilt? There is a need to re-examine the provisions of the laws concerning public land and its alienation and the law concerning the rules and regulations on the 'hinterlands'. All reflect extensive claims to state ownership of land and resources on land under customary law, and such claims have been the source of political tensions which contributed to the conflicts of the past decades. There is a need for redress, and a careful rebalancing of interests to both enhance rural livelihoods and permit the exploitation of valuable resources in the national interest. Such redress must, once standards are clear, involve survey and registration of both public land and the land of rural communities.
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World Bank. 2008. Insecurity of Land Tenure, Land Law and Land Registration in Liberia. © Washington, DC. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/8056 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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