Rwanda: Land reform, land scarcity and post conflict reconstruction


Executive Summary

This Policy Brief summarizes a longer report to be published by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in December 2004. It provides an analysis of Rwanda's draft land policy, in the context of the structural constraints facing the country, including acute land scarcity. It concludes that while the land policy offers several opportunities for economic development and improved rural livelihoods, its implementation will involve a number of challenges and risks. Therefore, it should be piloted in limited areas, and the results monitored, before being applied more widely. Also, implementation of the policy should not be based on compulsion, and the government should ensure that it does not lead to increased landlessness. Civil society organisations should be involved in policy implementation. Further research into the effects of HIV/AIDS on land rights should be conducted, and the results used to guide amendments to the policy. The composition of the land commissions, who will be responsible for much decisionmaking over land, should include representatives of sections of society which are most easily marginalized. There is a need to redefine the issue of landlessness, to include those who have lost land through processes of impoverishment. There is an urgent need to evolve a workable strategy to promote non-farm activities which should involve regional as well as national solutions. Overall, a more transparent dialogue within the country on governance and post conflict reconstruction is important. Effective implementation of a fundamental and sensitive issue such as land will not be possible without transparency.

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