Background

Rwanda Land Administration and Use Authority is a key Institution set up to implement the National Land Tenure Reform Program as provided for by the National Land Policy and the Organic Law determining the use and management of land in Rwanda. This program aimed at improving land tenure security by putting in place an efficient, transparent and equitable system of land administration.

Cadastral surveys, mapping and land registration are the core components of land administration. The new and modern land administration is embedded in a broader land information system, fully co-ordinated and automated, without separation of land registration, cadastral surveys and mapping, because they complement each other; more importantly, they belong together as a whole. Countries that are very advanced in land information management and land administration systems have combined those components into a same and unique organisation.

This the case of Sweden (with “LÄNTMATERIET”, the Swedish Agency for Mapping and Land Registry), the Netherlands (with “Kadaster”, Dutch Agency for Land Registry and Mapping. Rwanda has done the same by establishing the National Land Centre/ Office of the Registrar of Land Titles as the national agency for land registry and mapping

The benefits of land registration include among others:

(a) Certainty of ownership: the formal identification and recognition of the ownership of the land (adjudication), lead to security of tenure, to greater social cohesion, as well as to increased productivity, especially in rural areas where farmers have an incentive to take greater care of the land and to invest their capital and resources in it.

(b) Reduction in land disputes: knowing very well the owners of the lands, knowing boundaries of the individual or community land through registration, titling and adjudication not only lead to greater productivity from the land but also reduce the money wasted on litigation and going to court.

(c) Stimulation of the land market: The introduction of a cheap, secure and effective system for recording and transferring interests in land should improve the operation and efficiency of the land market.

(d) Security for credit: The land title can be used as security against any loan. To raise long-term credit can give rise to substantial increase in productivity from the land.

(e) Facilitation of land reform: Land redistribution and land consolidation can be expedited through the ready availability of information on who currently owns what rights in what land.

(f) Facilitation of land management: The development of a cadastral system and in particular, the creation of cadastral maps in a systematic manner will benefit the State in the administration of its own land, often giving rise to improved revenue collection from the land which it leases. In addition, knowing land owners will facilitate land transaction, taxation and the public acquisition of land through compulsory purchase prior to redevelopment...

(g) Improvements in physical planning. The cadastral system may be used to support physical planning in both the urban and rural sectors. Better land administration should lead to greater efficiency in local government. Many development programmes have failed or been unnecessarily expensive through a lack of knowledge of existing land rights.

(h) Supporting environmental management: Cadastral records, in their multipurpose form, can be used as a tool in assessing the impact of development, in helping in the preparation of environmental impact assessments and in monitoring environmental change.