L for Land Readjustment

L for Land Readjustment in Fatima, Huambo – Angola

Over the past four decades, Angola has experienced a rapid urbanisation which has mainly been attributed to the civil war. People had to flee to Launda, the capital and other major cities which were regarded as safer from instability and economic insecurity than the rural hinterlands. However, after the war, residents moved back to the peripheral areas of the cities where they lacked legal tenure of land and access to basic services. One of such recipients of this migration is the Huambo Province. From about 390,000 people in 2004, it is estimated that the population of Huambo city will more than double to 800,000 in 2020 (Dar Al-Handasah and Odebrecht, 2003). Much of the city’s physical growth occurs in the periphery with an expansion of about 378 hectares only in two years (2005 – 2007).

The new land laws of Angola required that customary land tenure be incorporated into the formal tenure systems but in practice lacked regulations (Cain, 2013). After years of advocacy by the civil society, a window was created for informal occupants of land to regularise their claims and apply for legal titles. These processes were managed by the provincial and municipal administration.


Figure 1: Draft Readjustment Plan of Fatima, Huambo

The Huambo Municipal Government consulted an organisation known as Development Workshop (DW) to assist to in the land regularisation programme. DW recommended adoption of land readjustment strategy to enable the local authority capture value of land to finance slums upgrading projects consequently. The Huambo programme was a Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment (PILAR) programme which involved most stakeholders. The methodology adopted is outlined seriatim:

  1. Creation of multi-stakeholder management group involving Provincial Government, traditional leaders, local administration and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  2. Mobilising community support by explaining the objectives of the project to the traditional leaders and then to the general populace.
  3. Conducting a baseline study to create household census and taking stock of existing infrastructure.
  4. Registry of existing land owners and boundaries with hand held GPS in the presence of land owners of adjacent properties.
  5. Development of physical readjustment plan by DW planners, management group and local administrator and presented to the residents. The stakeholders agreed on a ratio for sharing of the demarcated plots. That is, 30 percent to land owners, 35 percent for infrastructure and services and 35 percent for sale to finance infrastructure delivery.
  6. Issuing of purchase license to land owners and registering of land in cadastral software.
  7. Implementation of prepared layout by pegging plots to demarcate new property boundaries.
  8. Redistribution of parcels to owners and the laying of basic infrastructure by local authority.

The success of the project could be mainly attributed to the active involvement of the local farmers. Unlike other cases elsewhere, the Huambo city authorities did not adopt force eviction but ensured that original occupants of the land are compensated to allow for a full urbanisation of the peri-urban farmlands.


Figure 2: DW Staff issuing parcel license to land owner

Additional Readings:

Cain, A. (2007). Housing microfinance in post-conflict Angola. Overcoming socioeconomic exclusion through land tenure and access to credit. Environment and Urbanisation, 19(2). 361 – 390.

Cain, A. (2013). Participatory and Inclusive Community Land Readjustment in Huambo Angola. ‘Slum Upgrading Using Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment: Defining the Rules Of The Game’ Expert Group Meeting (EGM) Nairobi, 3rd and 4th of December, 2013.

UN – Habitat (2013). Huamabo Land Readjustment: Urban Legal Case Studies. Nairobi: UN – Habitat.

Link: DW Angola — Huambo Land Readjustments: Urban Legal Case Studies 


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