Options for Securing Tenure and Documenting land Rights in Mozambique: A Land Policy & Practice Paper

March 2020
LEGEND (Simon Norfolk, Julian Quan and Dan Mullins)

Covers the land policy context; piloting new approaches to documenting tenure rights; key lessons from local land documentation pilots; and policy proposals. Mozambican nationals can acquire tenure rights through inheritance, via peaceful occupation or through customary channels. These usufruct tenure rights, known as ‘DUAT’ (Direito de Uso e Aproveitamento da Terra), can be held individually or jointly. This paper captures the lessons from recent initiatives that have attempted to turn this situation on its head and leverage the capacities of local institutions to provide land administration services. These include the local mapping and certification of acquired DUAT rights, resulting in the issuance of locally registered certificates, rather than formal titles. The paper concludes that local documentation and maintenance of customarily acquired land rights, based on central roles for communities, could increase tenure security for millions of people. This could be done based on current law, without the need for formal titling or immediate registration in official land registries. Experience shows it can be done effectively and sustainably deliver tenure security at scale.