Communities’ role in securing customary land tenure in Zambia

Tapuwa Wambe Langton Nzara


Community land and natural resources lie at the heart of social, political and economic life in much of rural Africa. While the Zambian government acknowledges customary tenure, it has not established required legislation needed to secure it and support to communities in their efforts to protect their lands. As a consequence, many communities continue to lose their land/ access to critical natural resources, undermining local livelihoods and triggering conflicts.

This paper presents the results of a research project conducted in 2015, by the Zambia Land Alliance through a survey of ten communities in five districts of Zambia that are practising customary land certification.

The study revealed that weakness within any property rights regime is its inability to adapt to changes in the resource and institutional environment. If community rights can adjust to changes in the environment but are not supported by the state, encroachment by outsiders will undermine their effectiveness. 


Customary tenure, Statutory tenure, Tenure security, community participation, customary land, land governance, customary land certificates, Geographical Information System, Village land Committee, Para surveyors

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