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Abstract

A number of factors, including a recent rediscovery of the agricultural sector, growing demands for large-scale land acquisition, and economic growth, have increased demand for land registration in Africa. On the basis of a review of evidence, we argue that, in most cases, a key benefit from such interventions will be greater tenure security and the associated investment or rental market participation rather than credit effects. Interventions to formalize rights in the African context need to be designed so as to minimize associated risks and be sustainable in the long term. The example of recent land registration in Ethiopia shows not only that this can be accomplished but also that, even in an imperfect policy environment, it can yield significant benefits in terms of land-related investment and greater land rental market participation.

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