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Graduate Student Research (2020 Deadline)

Ethiopia - Project E3-004: Sustainability of the Land Registration Information System in Ethiopia: Levers for Access to Credit and Sustainable Landscape Investment.

Mentor: Feyera Wakjira, Addis Ababa University
Mentee: Shewakena Abab
Dates: July 2020 - December 2021

Project Overview:

In the rapidly changing world, land and property rights are fundamental to the use and governance of environmental resources. Sustainability is essential to the ability of land administration systems to withstand transforming social and environmental changes. The land registration information systems (LRIS) are the backbone of a functional land administration systems. To reduce widespread tenure insecurity and its negative impacts on investment, Ethiopia has been undertaken one of the largest, cheapest, and fastest land certification programs in Africa since late 1990s (Bezu and Holden, 2014). About 15 years have passed since the first-level land certification was completed, with close to 20 million parcels being registered and certified. After successful pilots, the Second-Level Land Certification (SLLC) roll out has been under way since 2013. The program has received increasingly broad support from various development partners such as USAID, the World Bank, and the development agencies of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Norway, and Canada. Researchers argue that the theory that land titling would increase opportunities to access to credit does not generally hold in developing economies is not practically proved in Ethiopia. However, there are project-based monitoring reports, but no rigorous empirical research documented on whether the SLLC increases the opportunity to smallholder to access to credit and help them to sustainable landscape investment (SLI). Therefore, this research will examine the sustainability of LRIS in Ethiopia that levers access to credit and SLI.

With the aim of addressing the interlinked problems of poverty, vulnerability and land degradation in the rural landscapes, the Government of Ethiopia together with its development partners have developed the Ethiopia Strategic Investment Framework (ESIF: 2010 to 2024) for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) (MoARD, 2010). The overall development objective of the ESIF is to improve the livelihoods and economic well-being of the rural resource users while the overall environmental objective is to rebuild Ethiopia’s natural capital assets. The ESIF argues there is an urgent need to reverse the land degradation problem through promoting and scaling up successful SLM practices by overcoming several constraints and barriers such as insecure land tenure rights and weak institutional capacity (MoARD, 2010). The removal of the key barrier of insecure land tenure is believed to be one means of facilitating greater adoption of SLM practices. Since 2013, by mobilizing resources from development partners and the government’s own resources, Ethiopia has been implementing SLLC nationwide, resulting in more than 15 million parcels demarcated and mapped, of which more than 11 million parcels had been issued SLLCs as of early 2020 (MoA, 2020). The data generated and analyzed through this project will unfold new insights and provide additional scientific evidence for existing knowledge on the sustainability of the LRIS and inform policy and programs to improve land and resource governance system nationally and beyond.