Trading places: accessing land in African cities

Trading places: accessing land in African cities

The developing world is urbanising fast, and new systems of urban land ownership, transfer and governance are emerging. This book tries to explain how these systems work and how they interface with wider markets and with existing land governance regimes, focusing particularly on Africa. 

The paper states that if African cities are to become economic engines of development, the urban development systems need to be able to cope with the complexity in ways that are more just and equitable. Yet, the challenge revolves around how the legal and governance systems, and the market support institutions, catch up with that reality.

The authors deem that a more nuanced, incremental and patient approach is likely to produce the desired results. In the same way, they argue that the more cities’ land markets are understood, the better can one design governance interventions that will achieve positive outcomes.

Recommendations encompass:

  • governments must mainstream urban land markets across a variety of development sectors and agendas such as housing, infrastructure development, poverty reduction, and livelihoods
  • governmental efforts must be directed to give people access to the land market, and systemic change to empower poor households and communities to defend their land rights is required
  • urban land market impact assessments must be carried out when developing new urban land market interventions
  • public investment must be packaged to create locations that are conducive to investment
  • if action plans are to have an effect, more agencies need to join the endeavour
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.