What Is In It for Me? – A Case Study of Land Tenure Systems In Suburban Maputo

Start date: 21 March, 2016 End date: 29 April, 2016 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A29608 Countries: Mozambique Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Astrid Grønbæk Total grant: 8,000 DKK



With an outset in existing studies pointing to increasing tenure insecurity in an informal settlement in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, this thesis explores to whether increased tenure insecurity increases the demand for land rights titles and the process of obtaining such. Through a case study of both the formal and the informal tenure system in Maputo this study finds, that the current tenure system produces both constraints and opportunities for both the residents in the informal settlements and also for the execution of the urban development plans. The case study includes both a rigorous reading of relevant laws and regulations related to land and semi-structured interviews with 25 residents along with a range of other actors.
As all land in Mozambique is owned by the state and land cannot be sold, mortgaged or in other ways alienated. Instead the occupant of the land can hold the rights to use and benefit from the land. How these rights can be acquired and transferred is explored. Because the attribution of land rights titles is linked to the urban development plans, the details of these are also explored.
The findings of this study are aligned with other studies carried out in Maputo and finds, that for the residents in the informal settlements social relations play an important role for the informal property market. Both in terms of providing people with access to relevant information about land and houses for sale, but also in terms of providing the buyers of homes with security in their purchase. Potential risks and uncertainties related to property transfers are minimized by having the transfers are verified by the administration of the neighborhood. This is a process that is considered fully legitimate by the population and the perceived degree of tenure security amongst the residents I interviewed was high. The experiences of two groups of residents who have gone through the process of regularizing their land holdings so that they can obtain formal land use titles show, that the process is costly both in terms of time, human, social and financial capital. Furthermore, both areas experienced an increase in the demand for land, after they had been parceled. According to the residents having a land use title facilitates the transfers of land, as the seller’s rights to the land have been officially recognized. However, the title is a land use title and does not include the right to sell or mortgage the land, although the land use title is considered to facilitate land transfers by the residents. In Bairro Triunfo the majority of the original residents have sold their plots and moved away as they realize they cannot fulfill the conditions stipulated on the provisory land use rights title. Several interviewees were expecting to do so in PCB Q53. The experiences of these areas indicate that the tenure security of the residents does not necessarily increase as a result of titling. Furthermore the findings of this study indicate that the current informal land market constitutes a considerable untapped source for tax revenues.