While land registration may increase the sense of security amongst landholders and provide a mechanism for resolving boundary disputes, its interaction with social, political-economic and ecological dynamics can actually generate conflicts by creating new opportunities by which some actors can assert claims or expand their landholdings, often at the expense of others. Conflicts over land cannot be understood without understanding the local dynamics with which they are intertwined. Drawing from case studies in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, this paper shows that, despite land registration and certification, there are widespread conflicts within and between households and state authorities regarding the usufruct of individual and communal lands. The paper argues that conflicts over land are complex and political and are linked to and embedded in the processes of commercialization, as well as in local social processes and power relations. These, in turn, influence and are shaped by the political economy of local governance and land administration processes, particularly in relation to the implementation of land registration. The paper highlights that land conflicts are attributed to a range of issues, including not only the challenges of governance in land registration but also population growth, commercialization, urbanization, inheritance and gender inequality, all of which intersect with corrupt land administration systems.
This work was supported by H2020 European Research Council [grant number 834006]; The Netherlands Fellowship Programme/Nuffic.
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