Land administration systems

Land remains a highly complex and contentious issue, involving economic, social, political and cultural systems. As spelled out in Article 75 of the Habitat Agenda, stating that "legal access to land is a strategic prerequisite for the provision of adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements affecting both urban and rural areas. The failure to adopt, at all levels, appropriate rural and urban land policies and land management practices remains a primary case of inequity and poverty" [UN-Habitat, 2003], there is a strong link between land and poverty.

Access to land is a fundamental basis for human shelter, food production and other economic activity, including by businesses and natural resource users of all kinds. Secure rights to land encourage people to invest in improved dwellings and the land itself; they can also enable people to access public services and sources of credit. Land-related issues in Rwanda are multiple and varied. Some originate from the morphology and physiology of the land, while others are rooted in the socio-demographic and socio-economic situations, combined with inadequate land policies, laws and regulations in the past.

Being a densely populated and hilly country, Rwanda faces serious problems related to the scarcity of land, the mode of human settlement and the protection of the environment. The evolution of agriculture, long considered as the backbone of the national economy, has become unpredictable because the land resource has been badly managed, and yet over 90% of the Rwandan population work on land from which they earn their livelihood.

Soil erosion has worsened due to continuous cultivation of land, settlement on marginal land that is unsuitable for agriculture, and lack of reliable soil conservation methods.The Government of Rwanda has recognized land as a key priority for economic development and poverty reduction and has developed a comprehensive institutional framework for Land Governance in Rwanda during the last 10 years.

Simultaneously, Land Governance organizations have been established and their mandate clearly defined, however these organizations are still in the process of capacity building. Another critical development has been the Land Tenure Regularisation Support Programme (LTRSP) that started in 2005 and is still running till January 2013. The programme has for objectives that all rightful landholders in Rwanda receive legally valid land title documents and to minimise disputes preventing the issue of land titles. The LTRSP has been a very ambitious but also very successful systematic land registration programme.

However, there is a need to maintain the system up-to-date in terms of the information on parcels, rights and right owners that is regularly changing due to transaction on land. The Land Administration Information System (LAIS) has been developed for this purpose and is presently under implementation at RNRA.The link below gives you access to the first Land Administration System (LAS) Manual which reviews the development of the LAS in Rwanda from an institutional perspective, gives an overview of the actual LAS and documents land transaction and registration procedures and corresponding documents and forms. It is important that everyone who wants to carry out any land transaction should use one of the provided forms below: