The investment case for land tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa: A cost-benefit analysis

Oct 2023 | No Comment

Land tenure security is a critical government service that has repercussions on agricultural productivity, housing development, business investment, and the development of urban areas. The present study presents a cost-benefit analysis of tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa. We present this study in two parts. The first part focusses on the cost factor and benefit analyis will be published in the next issue

Frank F.K. Byamugisha

Independent Consultant

Nancy Dubosse

Copenhagen Consensus Center, Tewksbury, MA, USA

Government is the custodian of the most critical (and limited) factor of production, namely, land. Assuring security of tenure, arbitrating disputes, and facilitating the transfer or sales of titles renders the land market more efficient and less volatile, attracting investors and promoting sustainable urban development.

Land tenure security is also a critical government service that has repercussions on agricultural productivity, housing development, business investment, and the development of urban areas. However, land administration is mired in corruptive practices, elite capture and inefficient allocation. Globally, only 24% of rural areas are mapped (46 in urban areas), with approximately the same percentage registered, i.e., 22%. In Africa, only about 14% of rural land is formally recorded in a public register.

Land tenure security can take a variety of forms depending on national regulatory frameworks that allocate land and specify its use. Success stories include transferable user certificates in China and individual land titles in Rwanda.

Systematic evaluation of the evidence on tenure programs demonstrates that improved tenure security increases agricultural output (40% on average), increases urban land values (25% on average) and increases household welfare (15% on average). Other observed country-specific benefits include additional years of schooling, better academic performance, access to credit, reforestation and improved household nutrition.

The costs of establishing tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa include the separate costs of rural (US$ 3 billion) and urban (US$ 2.2 billion) land registration; the cost of digitizing land registries and information to improve efficiency and transparency (US$ 880 million), the cost of strengthening institutions and systems to resolve land disputes and manage expropriations (US$ 960 million) over a ten-year implementation period, and land administration operations and land records maintenance over 30 years (US$ 64 billion). The net present value (8%) of costs is US$ 21.7 billion for rural land tenure and US$ 5.3 billion for urban areas.

The benefits of rural land registration were based on the observed 15% household wealth effect noted in the literature. The net present value (8%) of a 30-year benefits stream is US$ 396 billion. The benefit-cost ratio of completing and modernizing land registration and improving land administration coverage and effectiveness in rural Sub-Saharan Africa is 18.

The benefits of urban land registration were based on the average 25% increase in property values observed in the literature. Using housing prices for the 20 largest, Sub-Saharan African countries, the net present value (8%) of the benefits over a 30-year period is US$ 237 billion, yielding a benefit-cost ratio of 45 when the average housing price is used. When the population-weighted housing price is used, benefits are valued at US$ 160 billion, yielding a benefit-cost ratio of 30.

The Importance of Land Tenure Security for Development

Government is the custodian of the most critical (and limited) factor of production, namely, land. Assuring security of tenure, arbitrating disputes, and facilitating the transfer or sales of titles renders the land market more efficient and less volatile, attracting investors and promoting sustainable urban development. Yet, one of the most underperforming parts of public administration in developing countries is land administration. This is borne out by the observed land conflicts, squatting in undesignated urban areas, non-compliance to land use planning and construction regulations and lack of investment in housing and farms across the world.

Private land in developing countries remains largely unmapped and unregistered. Generally, urban areas are better mapped and registered than rural areas. Globally, only 24% of rural areas are mapped (46% in urban areas), with approximately the same percentage registered, i.e., 22%. There is no region with universal mapping and registration; even the OECD region has 97% and 68% of urban plots mapped and registered, respectively, as compared to 71% and 68% for rural areas (Enemark et al. 2014). However, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of mapped land in the world, i.e., 14%.

A further complexity is the rate of migration from rural to urban areas: By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is projected to be living in urban areas. The most urbanized regions include Northern America (82% of the population living in urban areas in 2014), Latin America and the Caribbean (80%) and Europe (73%). In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural, but are urbanizing faster than the other regions and are projected to become 56% and 64% urban, respectively, by 2050 (UN-HABITAT 2021).

Land tenure, as defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land. It involves rules to regulate behavior, as it defines how access is granted to rights to use, control and transfer land as well as associated responsibilities and restraints, hence determining market participation. Practically, land tenure security implies two main right dimensions: (a) the rights to use and the rights to transfer, and (b) the autonomy to enjoy these rights (Bambio and Bouayad Agha 2018).

Land can be private, communal, open access or public, and there are a variety of instruments that assign rights to the use of land, including use rights, control rights and transfer rights. There are various proven instruments, as listed below, to improve land tenure security, which range from issuing transferable user certificates and community mapping with customary leader adjudication under customary tenure regimes (e.g., China and Benin) to land titling under freehold regimes (e.g., Rwanda).
• certificates of customary ownership in areas where customary tenure dominates (e.g., Uganda)
• social land concessions (e.g., Cambodia)
• land use certificates in the case of informal settlements like in Senegal, community land trusts in Kenya, or certificates of comfort in Trinidad and Tobago; all have the objective of protecting squatters from eviction. Experience has shown repeatedly that such tenure security does not require the allocation of individual titles.
• user certificates and transferable user certificates (e.g., China)
• land titles under both freehold and leasehold regimes, known as emphyteutic lease (e.g., Rwanda)

Security of tenure refers to the recognition of these rights by others, the absence of which results in competing claims to the land and possibly conflict. In Niger, although an extreme case, only 4.5% of the adult population has land documents. Other countries, which report in their Voluntary National Reviews on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators, reflect more moderate tenure security: Nepal 26%, Peru 34%, Uganda 36%, Benin 43% and Georgia 60%. The gender (female-male) gap in tenure security among rural farmers is also palpable: in Nigeria (30% vs 60%), Peru (8% vs 19%), Uganda (31% vs 49%) and Tanzania (49% vs 61%) (SDG Land Momentum Group 2020a).

Land administration is the way in which the rules of land tenure are applied and made operational. Land administration, whether formal or informal, comprises an extensive range of systems and processes to administer. These include but are not limited to the allocation of rights to use, lease or sell land; land use regulation as is the case for public works or better managed environmental impacts; and land valuation and taxation. Land is typically administered at the lowest levels of government where there are capacity constraints relating to human resources and technology. This is reflected in the performance indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey that attempts to determine the efficiency of the land registration process. Table 1 lists the results of the land registration indicators by region. While it is not the most inefficient region where it relates to time, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest compliance costs, measured as a percentage of the property value.

Under the Sustainable Development Goal 1 target to end poverty by 2030, all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, should have equal rights to economic resources as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, and appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance. Sustainable Development Goal 5 speaks to gender disparity in land ownership, in which, globally, of agricultural land holders. Despite the plethora of organizations working towards the realization of these targets, there has been limited uptake to the global monitoring mechanism. During the years 2016 and 2019, no countries reported in their Voluntary National Reviews on SDG 1.4.2, and only 10 countries submitted reports on SDG 5a. There has also been no country reporting on the perceptions of tenure security (SDG Land Momentum Group 2020x).

Low levels of land registration and ailing land administration coupled with urban migration pressure places the focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Tenure insecurity is costly to society. Land transfers, where they are possible, consume time and resources on both sides of the transaction and for government. Land registration and other compliance costs as a percent of property value are higher. Another consequence of tenure insecurity is suboptimal agricultural output: agricultural lands suffer under insecure tenure and are subject to conflicts, thus showing 20% lower yields than those without conflicts (Byamugisha 2016).

To unlock the vast agricultural potential of Sub-Saharan African countries as well as ensure that urban land is allocated to its highest yielding potential, the granting of tenure security (in its locally relevant form) is considered a best investment based on countries’ experiences; the material outcome being a legal document ascertaining that the rights held on a plot of land are provided by the law against any third party.

Cost-benefit analysis of land tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Establishing land tenure security goes beyond land parcel registration and involves policy, administrative and regulatory actions including sensitization, awareness and education campaigns; participation and the engagement of opinion leaders (including cultural and religious ones); mobilizing and training of field staff; adjudicating, surveying, mapping and demarcating boundaries; capturing and digitizing field data; publicly disclosing and confirming field adjudication results; and registering and distributing land rights documents.

The state of land tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Customary tenure prevails on the continent, estimated to be over 78% of land holdings. Individual land holdings (or private property) dominate in only six of the 54 states and cover only 10% of the land in Africa.

Tenure security can and does exist under customary tenure. Among the Kikuyu in Kenya, wills are not recognized, and all sons inherit in equal parts. Linkow (2019) demonstrates that this is sufficient security to incentivize investment: both tree-planting and tree density (conditional on trees having been planted) are positively related to inheritance by sons. In cases where women find themselves in possession, there is insecurity of tenure and thus significantly less investment.

Thirty-one African states now formally recognize customary tenure as a viable system for regulating land rights. Socially based collective property is fast becoming an accepted part of property relations guided and protected by statutes, taking its place among more traditional and individual-centric norms (Alden Wily 2018). This recognition is characterized by (a) the formalization of tenure; (b) the incorporation of customary practices into statutory law, and (c) the professionalization and creation of institutional legibility in customary tenure and democratization of customary tenure practices. Land administration is adopting a hybrid approach, bringing together elements of traditional authority and fusing this with some of the values of the statutory institutions with which they interface. The result is the facilitation of land transactions because local authorities are becoming more professional in the way that they administer and manage land (Chimhowu 2019).

Baseline data

To estimate the shares of rural land that is registered or unregistered in Sub-Saharan Africa, we derive them from survey data analyzed by Deininger, Savastano and Xia (2017) using the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) implemented by the World Bank. An agricultural household owns 2.2 land plots (parcels), which is the weighted average (weighted by the country’s population) of farm plots owned by a household in the surveyed six SubSaharan African countries (five surveyed in 2010/2011 and one in 2011/2012) whose total population makes up 41% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population1 ; a 14% weighted average of the area (weighted by the country’s population) is covered by formal ownership documents.

Regarding the share of urban land that is registered in Sub-Saharan Africa, no data are available on this. In absence of such data, we make estimates based on registration information obtained for two Sub-Saharan African cities, namely, Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, whose land registration experiences have been studied more closely and reported by Henderson and Liu (2020). Using their findings, we assume that half of the urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have as good a land registration record as Nairobi, with 90% of private land (outside slums) registered while the other half of SubSaharan African urban areas is assumed to have as poor a registration record as Dar es Salaam, with only about 20% of the urban land registered. It should be noted that the latter category of urban area cities, including Bamako, Kampala and Lagos, have a large proportion of their unregistered land covered by less formal documents, such as Residential Licenses in Dar es Salaam that cover about 50% of its unregistered land, have some legal backing and give a level of comfort to occupants but fall short of formal titles (Henderson and Liu 2020). To conclude, therefore, we assume that half of Sub-Saharan African private urban land parcels, excepting slums, are of the Nairobi type with a 90% registration rate while the other half are of the Dar es Salaam type with a 20% registration rate. We also assume that land in urban slums all over SubSaharan Africa are all unregistered and are treated separately in the costing.

To estimate the number of households and corresponding land parcels in both rural and urban areas, we begin with the latest estimate of the total population in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, which was 1.136 billion (World Bank Open Data), and approximately, 41.3% lived in urban areas (by deduction, 58.7% in rural areas). Thus, the total number of rural and urban land parcels in Sub-Saharan Africa is 212.6 million and 68 million, respectively.


The costs of establishing tenure security in Sub-Saharan Africa include the costs of rural and urban land registration; the cost of digitizing land registries and information to improve efficiency and transparency; the cost of strengthening institutions and systems to resolve land disputes and manage expropriations, and the annual operations costs of the new or expanded land administration and land records maintenance costs.

Rural registration costs

Of the 213 million total rural land parcels, an estimated 14% are registered, leaving 86% of the total or 183 million parcels, unregistered. The bulk of this unregistered rural land―estimated at 90% of the total and amounting to 164.5 million parcels― is of relatively low value and can be demarcated using aerial photos or highresolution satellite imagery, as Rwanda and Ethiopia have done, and registered at an average cost of US$ 10 per parcel, for a total cost of US$ 1.65 billion (see Table 2).

The balance of the unregistered land, 18.3 million parcels, is estimated to be of higher value due to increasing demand either for production or conversion to urban or other high value uses. This land is vulnerable to contestation and hence requires more precise boundary measurement at a higher cost. Based on experience from Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana, we estimate an average cost of surveying and registration of US$ 20 per parcel, for a total cost of US$ 366 million. Hence, the total cost of adjudicating, demarcating and registering the individually owned rural arable land (both relatively low value and high value) would amount to about US$ 2.0 billion (see Table 2).

Communally owned land, excluding rangelands and forests

Until recently, registration of communal land was not urgent since the rights of community members in many countries were quite secure and demand for land from non-community members was minimal. However, increases in land values due to population growth and investor demand have raised demand and contestation over communal lands, hence raising the need for their registration. The urgency for communal land registration is in countries with large chunks of communal land, such as Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania and the DRC and in parts of countries with large chunks of communal lands such as northern Uganda and the western and south-eastern areas of Ethiopia. Registration and securing tenure typically involve: (a) organizing and formalizing land-owning groups and strengthening local institutions of land governance, and (b) adjudicating and demarcating external boundaries and registering the rights of the formalized groups (Byamugisha 2013; Barnes, Digiano and Augustinus 2015). Cost estimates are based on experiences of Tanzania (about US$ 500−US$ 2,000 for survey and registration per village) where villages were already organized into administrative units and in Mozambique (US$ 2,000−US$ 10,000 per community) to formalize land-owning community groups, delineate external community boundaries and register communal rights. We estimate the total cost of registering communal land rights (about 15,000 community groups) in a country to be about US$ 30 million if communities are already organized and formalized as in Tanzania (about 15 countries), or about US$ 40 million if land owning community groups are not yet organized and formalized like in Mozambique and Kenya (also about 15 countries). The total budget for approximately 30 countries is US$ 1.05 billion (see Table 2).

Exclusion of rangelands and forests from the quantification of costs (and benefits) of land tenure security does not mean they are not important. Indeed, they are important not only in generating national economic benefits and providing livelihoods to vulnerable people but also in providing climate change and environmental services. These benefits together with the associated land tenure intervention costs are difficult to quantify partly because there has not been much implementation experience on which to base the quantification. Moreover, since surveying of rangelands and forests is mostly based on community mapping, it would be considerably cheaper than the surveying and mapping commonly used in the registration of rural and urban lands. Since surveying and mapping is a big part of the costs of registration, the provision of land tenure security for rangelands and forests based on communal mapping is likely to be cost-effective. Hence, excluding rangelands and forests in the quantification of costs and benefits would not affect the conclusions of the overall cost-benefit analysis.

Altogether, the total cost of registering individually and communally owned rural land in Sub-Saharan Africa is approximately US$ 3.1 billion.

Urban registration costs

In terms of registration of urban land, no reliable information is available on the share of registered land in urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. In absence of data, we use the studies of two cities, Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), as representing two categories of urban entities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Nairobi, 90% of private land is registered, while in Dar es Salaam, only up to 20% of land is registered, with about 50% of the unregistered land having documents that have a legal backing and give a level of comfort to occupants but fall short of formal titles (called Residential Licenses and renewable after every five years). Bamako (Mali), Kampala (Uganda), Lagos (Nigeria) and many more Sub-Saharan African cities are in a similar property rights situation as Dar Es Salaam (Henderson and Liu 2020).

We assume that half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s private urban land parcels, with the exception of slums, are of Nairobi type with a 90% registration rate and the other half are of the Dar es Salaam type with a 20% registration rate. Given that Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated 68 million urban land parcels in total, the unregistered parcels for the Nairobitype amount to 3.4 million while the unregistered parcels for the Dar es Salaam type amount to 27.2 million, together generating a total of 30.6 million unregistered parcels. Assuming a planning, surveying and registration cost of US$ 25 per parcel (based on the Thailand, Ghana and Uganda experiences), the cost of registering 30.6 million urban land parcels, excluding land in slums, is estimated to be US$ 765 million (see Table 2).

Unregistered land in slums

We assume that land in urban slums is all unregistered. Informal settlements (slums) arise mostly on public land and did not originally form part of local land use plans. Preliminary results from donorsupported formalization programs in Kenya, Lesotho and Tanzania indicate that it can be done more cost-effectively if it is done through joint field activities of physical planning and surveying, area by area systematically and done in bulk. This bulk planning and surveying, when coupled with new participatory and cheaper approaches to capture land rights information using tablets and smartphones, can reduce costs in participatory processes involving representatives of slum dwellers in a six-step process: community education and participation on rights and responsibilities; adjudication and enumeration of rights of individuals and groups (including tenants and structure owners); agreement on and survey of land boundaries; physical planning with wide community participation; adjustment of boundaries, walls, fences, and buildings to meet the physical plan; and registration of rights in a local or central public land registry (Byamugisha 2013).

Experience from Kenya indicates that at least five types of titles can be issued from regularization of tenure in urban slums: individual titles; joint titles including for couples; block titles (with shares of each member indicated); community or communal titles (with members organized into legal entities); and sectional property titles similar to condominium titles, with individual ownership of structural units but common ownership of the land (personal communication with Kenyan Authorities, January 2022). Given that slums, although declining, have persisted with urbanization in developing countries (Cai, Selod and Steinbuks 2018) including those where registration of urban land is quite advanced such as Vietnam, China, South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda,2 not all land in slums will be registered entirely or eliminated in Sub-Saharan Africa within 10 years even with increased funding and policy reforms. It will take a longer time of engagement to tackle not only the issues of planning, surveying and registration but also other issues that contribute to the proliferation of slums to eventually reduce slums closer to levels in developed countries. For this costing exercise, we provide cost estimates of a sizable program to enable Sub-Saharan African countries to learn and customize global and regional best practices and initiate or accelerate implementation of long-term programs to register about half of the land in slums and to prevent new slums from occurring. For such a program, we are estimating an average cost of US$ 30 million per country in all SubSaharan African countries (n = 48), totaling US$ 1.44 billion (see Table 2).

Altogether, the cost of registering urban land including slums is about US$ 2.2 billion.

Estimating the cost of digitizing land registries and information to improve efficiency and transparency

Improving efficiency and transparency in Sub-Saharan Africa involves streamlining and digitization of processes and data in public land registries and other land administration services. The digitization builds on the successes of Rwanda, Uganda, and Mauritius that have completed their digitization programs as well as on some progress made in this area by other Sub-Saharan African countries including Ethiopia, Benin, Côte D’Ivoire, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The digitization program is budgeted to cover about 44 countries at an average cost of US$ 20 million per country, based on Uganda’s experience with the development and implementation of its digitization program but excluding infrastructure such as buildings (personal communication with Ugandan Authorities, January 2022). The total cost of digitization of land registries and information services is US$ 880 million (see Table 2).

Estimating the cost of strengthening institutions and systems to resolve land disputes and manage expropriations

In almost all Sub-Saharan African countries, land disputes make up a high share of court cases, in the range of 50% in Ghana and Uganda, and one third to one half in Ethiopia. Weaknesses in resolving land disputes undermine land tenure security. Sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana and Tanzania, have implemented incremental measures to strengthen judicial systems including hiring retired judges and paying overtime for sitting judges to reduce the backlog of court cases, increasing capacity of the courts through training of judges and giving them more resources, establishing specialized courts, and deploying alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms and customary institutions. A review of experience with such incremental efforts to strengthen judicial systems and the rule of law in resolving land disputes indicates that while there was some progress, no single mechanism alone has been successful (Byamugisha 2013). Success requires a combination of approaches to ensure system-wide reforms.

A similar review of experience with implementation of interventions to tackle problems in compulsory land acquisition and compensation, which are common in Sub-Saharan Africa and undermine land tenure security, suggests that multiple actions as opposed to single solutions have a greater chance of success; such actions should include updating laws to keep pace with innovations in land policy and passing laws like a number of countries, including Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda, have done; avoiding the undervaluing of land rights and poorly tailored forms of compensation; avoiding the use of the “public interest” principle to acquire land for the production of private goods and services or to lease to investors; and fixing deficiencies in governance such as underpayment or delayed payment of compensation (Byamugisha 2013). Implementing system-wide reforms to resolve land disputes and multiple actions to tackle problems in land acquisition and compensation is estimated to cost an average of US$ 20 million per country and, for the 48 Sub-Saharan African countries, total US$ 960 million (see Table 2).

Annual operations and maintenance costs

A key benefit of registries is their ability to provide authoritative information on all parcels of interest, within a reasonable period for land transactions (transfers, sales, inheritances). Even in a low-income country, the size of the land market is non-negligible. For example, in Rwanda, 5.6% and 1.54% of Kigali’s residential and agricultural land parcels, respectively, were transferred through a registered sale each year. For the other provinces, figures are 0.27% and 0.07% for residential and agricultural land, respectively (Ali, Deininger, and Duponchel 2016). They also estimated a total of USD 2.6 billion of mortgage lending annually.

The costs associated with land administration services include the following:
• Back-office costs, including personnel, hardware and software maintenance and upgrades and information technology upgrades, like integration of blockchain technology. As the technology is rapidly evolving, there is now emerging literature of migrating land registries from physical servers to blockchain, which would improve security and traceability, thereby increasing user confidence.
• Decentralization costs, while highly contextual, typically entail some combination of sub-national land service offices and agents who cover the last mile for remote and rural residents. In Rwanda, there are sector land managers (SLMs) to receive, validate and notarize transactions, disseminate information, and help implement land use plans at sector local level (Ali, Deininger, and Duponchel 2016).
• Networking costs that link the registry to other public agencies like the revenue authorities and credit agencies like the Land Administration Information Service of Rwanda, which is integrated with data on land use and agro-ecological suitability and is maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources to monitor land use and its changes and in doing so, facilitate siting of investments higher up in the value chain, e.g., in agro-processing (Ali, Deininger, and Duponchel 2016).
• Document management system of cadastral surveys and certificates.
• Complaints management system to manage disputes and competing claims. • Land use planning and development, which need to be revised as populations grow and migrate and economic activity evolves.
• Continued sensitization of land rights and responsibilities, as well as communication on how to access services, costing, etc., to encourage the continued registration of parcels and stem informal transactions of land. In Rwanda, it was discovered that some buyers believed taking possession of the seller’s title without a name change would establish ownership. Thus, the government conducted two national campaigns, referred to as ‘land weeks’, during 2014−15, which involved extensive coverage on television and radio and some face-to face events (Ali, Deininger, and Duponchel 2016).

These operations and maintenance costs ensure the sustainability of the overall land tenure security intervention. When these functions are insufficiently budgeted for, beneficiaries, especially women and rural residents, are unable to access the potential wealth that exploitation of land can bring. One of the observed consequences is the increased informality of land transactions. Mozambique is a case in point. Despite the legal and institutional reform and the development of the Land Information Management System (SiGIT), challenges associated with land administration include institutional weaknesses. Municipalities, which remain responsible for establishing and maintaining the cadaster in urban areas are unable to perform basic land administration tasks, partly due to insufficient human and financial resources. They were also using outdated maps, which vary between 27 and 40 years (World Bank 2017). In Colombia, only 5.7% of the parcels are up to date, while 66% are outdated, showing an average last registration of 12 years prior, and with 28.3% of parcels unregistered. The main reasons were attributed to a shortage of human and technical capacity of the institutions responsible for the creation and maintenance of the cadastral records and the use of outdated procedures and regulations that are based on compliance with technical standards rather than on the purpose and use of the information collected (Morales et al. 2021).

The national agency tasked with administering lands and maintaining records has annual costs, assumed here to be proxied by the ratio of annual running costs per registered parcel. A survey undertaken by Burns et al. (2006) revealed that the average is between US$ 5 and US$ 10. Individual country costs are shown in Table 3.

The midpoint of the range (US$ 7.50) is used in the analysis and inflationadjusted to US$ 10.16 in 2020. It is assumed that there is no significant difference in administration of rural and urban parcels. These costs increase with parcel registration uptake, which occurs in increments of 10% over ten years, followed by an annual markup of 2% for the remaining intervention period, an additional 20 years2 . The undiscounted rural land administration costs over the 30-year period are estimated to be US$ 69 billion and US$ 14 billion for urban parcels (see Table 4).

The total cost of securing land tenure in Sub-Saharan Africa over 10 years, including registering the remaining unregistered rural and urban land (both individually and communally owned), initiating or accelerating implementation of long-term programs of participatory planning and regularization of tenure to steadily reduce urban slums to the levels in developed countries, digitizing public land registries and information, implementing system-wide reforms to resolve land disputes and multiple actions to tackle problems in land expropriation and compensation, extending land administration, and ensuring records maintenance for an exclusively rural tenure security intervention has a net present value of US$ 21.7 billion and US$ 5.3 billion when efforts are concentrated solely in urban areas.

The paper is originally published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http:// by/4.0), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.

© The Author(s), 2023.

The paper is published with authors’ permission. To be concluded in October issue.


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