Given the recent trend of granting vast areas of African land to foreign investors, the urgency of placing real ownership in the hands of the people living and making their livelihood upon lands held according to custom cannot be overstated. This publication provides guidance on how best to recognize and protect the land rights of the rural poor and investigates the various over-arching issues related to the statutory recognition of customary land rights. It cautions lawmakers that even excellent laws may, in their implementation, fall prey to political manipulation and suggests various oversight and accountability mechanisms that may be established to ensure that the law is properly implemented, the land claims of rural communities are protected and the legislative intent of the law is realized.
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