|Titling should, through land security, rise up to the challenge of land rights in developing countries. Indeed, the issuance of a title recognizing the right to own or use land offers to those who possess it, the permanence of this right and the accompanying guarantees.|
Obstacles to land tenure reform in developing countries are manifold. First, African culture and philosophy render difficult the coexistence of customary and civil law. Second, the economic situation of these countries is characterized by a lack of material and financial resources. Finally, the extreme poverty of their citizens does not allow the modernization of private and State-owned land tenure processes. Nearly two thirds of Africa’s population lacks access to property as legally defined by the international laws and regulations. As a result, nearly 70% of all legal conflicts in Africa revolve around land issues.
This fragile legislation greatly hampers development. This crisis paralyzes important agricultural and commercial projects. It also creates serious conflicts between farmers and breeders, which have lead to massacres. Furthermore, it prevents the social and economic advancement of the poor who own land over which they have no real rights. They cannot mortgage their property, thus obtaining loans that could improve their work conditions.
Finally, since the food crisis, we can no longer ignore the very serious problem of foreign countries seizing and cornering African land by buying or leasing from our State governments.
In order for titling to function in African countries, modernity needs to be embraced. It is necessary for traditional law to evolve towards written law but with more relaxed principles. The goal is to ensure the peaceful coexistence of both legal conceptions of property that compete on African soil. In developing countries, the modern land tenure system is based only on the Land Title for urban areas (civil servants, corporate executives, traders and businessmen). For the rest of the population, the African majority, we have created what I call the “Simplified Secure Title”. This is an official document obtained from the government quickly, simply, and inexpensively.
The support of the Conseil Supérieur de Notariat (CSN) is important on many levels:
- On the notary level, property titles are the heart of the profession. The CSN, the hub of French notaries, coordinates and fuels this project.
- Based in Paris, the CSN is also an ambassador for notaries as a professional body.
Thanks to the CSN, French and even international notaries, can take their rightful place alongside representatives of embassies and international organizations. The public relations programs performed through the heads of its international services is a crucial and invaluable contribution, especially for African notaries.
Abdoulaye Harissou, notary in Cameroon, International Union of Latin Notaries
Key dates for this quarter
Monday 5 – Thursday, April 8: Catherine Joubert, Managing Director of the Foundation, travels to Yaoundé (Cameroon) and meets with seven students from the 2010 graduating class of the Center for Social Excellence in Yaounde.
Wednesday, April 14: The television program “C’est pas sorcier” broadcasts a show on “Congo Forests: Tracking tropical timber.” and the Biso na Biso radio station.
Thursday, April 15: The Monitoring Committee meets to discuss the Architects Outreach Project.
Thursday, May 6, 2010: President Chirac sponsors the Raoni Institute. During a meeting with Raoni Metuktire, Kayapo Indian Chief, President Jacques Chirac agreed to support the Raoni Institute whose goal is to preserve the Kayapo reserve located across both the Mato Grosso and Pará states of Brazil.
Wednesday, May 19: Partnership signed with the Conseil Supérieur de Notariat.
May 30 – Wednesday, June 2: Conference of Notaries in Bordeaux.
Monday, June 7: Biso na Biso radio is a year old. Birthday ceremony with regional authorities and the Congolaise Industrielle du Bois.