“Property and constitutional order: Land tenure reform and the future of the African state”

The debate over land law reform in Africa has been framed as a referendum on the market – that is, as a debate pitting advocates of the growth-promoting individualization of property rights against those who call for protecting the livelihoods and subsistence rights of small farmers. This article argues that the prospect of land law reform also raises a complex bundle of constitutional issues. In many African countries, debates over land law reform are turning into referenda on the nature of citizenship, political authority, and the future of the liberal nation state itself. The article describes alternative land reform scenarios that are currently under debate, and identifies the constitutional implications of each. The practical salience of the issues is illustrated through reference to land reform politics in Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, South Africa, and Tanzania.
Boone, Catherine
Source publication: 
African Affairs 106(425): 557-586