Land tenure in Cote d’Ivoire is closely linked with ethnic conflict, power and economics. Beginning around the 1960s, President Houphouet-Boigny instituted policies that actively encouraged the clearing of new areas of land, the importation of labor and the establishment of laborers as agricultural settlers. This has been the cause of frequent conflicts, relating both to land rights and the ways in which different communities gain access to resources. Unfortunately, the recent crisis in Cote d’Ivoire has rendered existing customary, administrative and judicial mechanisms for managing land disputes less effective. Land conflicts have particularly been a point of contention in the west of the country as highlighted in a recent article from Al Jazeera. Resolving such contentious land disputes and putting in place a sound land policy environment will be a priority for Cote d’Ivoire as it seeks to recover from it most recent post-election violence and to improve its economic potential.
July 25, 2012