Beyond land rights registration: understanding the mundane elements of land conflict in Ethiopia

New publication by Tsegaye Moreda
Farm in Ethiopia
Rod Waddington

Conflicts over land cannot be understood without understanding the local dynamics of governance structures and power relations with which they are intertwined. This is the key point made by Dr Tsegaye Moreda in his paper 'Beyond land rights registration: understanding the mundane elements of land conflict in Ethiopia' published in the Journal of Peasant Studies.

Moreda questions a common tendency in the literature to attribute land conflict to land shortages and proposals for land registration and certification as a means of clarifying land rights and reducing conflicts. He argues that land conflicts are complex and political and are linked to and embedded in processes of commercialization, population growth, urbanization, inheritance, gender inequality, and local governance and land administration processes, especially in the implementation of the land rights registration and certification process.

Moreda's analyses focuses on two case studies in Amhara region, Ethiopia, drawing on extensive quantitative and qualitative fieldwork. His key point is that conflicts over land cannot be understood without understanding the local dynamics of governance structures and power relations with which they are intertwined. Because of a complex terrain of intersecting issues, contrary to expectations, land registration and certification may actually create conflict.

He underscores the importance of avoiding a narrow focus on land registration and certification as a means of clarifying land rights and reducing conflicts since improving tenure security and reducing land conflicts are as much political challenges as they are administrative, legal and technical and necessitate changes in power relationships between and within the state and society over access, control, use and transfer of land resources

Read the full article online - 'Beyond land rights registration: understanding the mundane elements of land conflict in Ethiopia'

Assistant professor

Dr Tsegaye Moreda

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Commodity & land rushes and regimes research project

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