USD54m World Bank "land citizenship awareness" loan to Uganda

Thursday, 27 March, 2014

Thomson Reuters AlertNet and bring us news this week that the World Bank has loaned $54 million to “raise public awareness about land tenure, especially the rights of women to own land.”

Daudi Migereko, Ugandan Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, spoke to Thomson Reuters on Monday at the World Bank conference on Land and Poverty in Washington.

According to the articles, the new loan coincides with “huge public demand for more information about land rights. Conflicts and protests are sweeping through Uganda over land ownership, land grabbing and displacement of long-time residents as the government grapples with economic development issues, agri-business investment and the discovery of oil and gas.”

Migereko’s take on developments is positive: “We have been low on funding but fortunately, we recently procured a line of credit which will enable marginalised groups like women and clan groups to be in position to acquire rights over land just like individuals. The loan of $54 million which we are acquiring from the World Bank will help.” 

While Uganda has a better history than many of protecting the legal right of women to own land the widespread reality is that they remain marginalised. Women in Uganda frequently do not inherit land, hold joint title on land deeds or make decisions on land use.

Migereko also said that the Ugandan people needed to start to consider land  as an economic commodity rather than a cultural and social one. In this way, he argues land reforms “will help move people from a peasant society into a modern, industrialised society by focusing on producing for the market and moving into the monetary economy.”

Both articles are worth a read, and go on to address:

- The global challenges facing  women's land rights
- The relationship of these issues to climate change
- Examples of good and bad practice in remedying this situation
- How solutions are affected by the role of access to credit, and the importance of policy in easing the path to education