Land Tenure in Rwanda

Land tenure is defined as the terms and conditions on which land is held, used and transacted. Rules of tenure define how property rights to land are to be allocated within societies. They define how access is granted the rights to use, control and transfer of land as well as associated responsibilities and restraints.

Land Tenure Categories in Rwanda

State Land
State land which makes up the public domain consists of all the land meant to be used by the public or land reserved for organs of state services as well as national land reserved for environmental protection. This is to say;

  • Land containing shores of lakes and rivers up to the length determined by an order of the Minister of environment
  • Land occupied by springs and wells
  • National land reserved for environmental conservation composed of natural forests national parks, reserved swamps, public gardens and tourist sites
  • State roads and their boundaries
  • Land and buildings the administration reserved for public activities

Private State owned land
Private state land consists all the land that is not included in state land reserved for public activities infrastructures and land that does not belong to district, City of Kigali, towns and municipalities or individuals.

The following is included in private state land:

  • Vacant land which includes land that has no owner and the land that was retaken by the state in respect to confiscation mentioned in article 75 of the organic law
  • State land previously occupied by public activities but which was excluded in that category according to law
  • Land purchased by the state obtained through donation or land acquired through expropriation due to public use
  • Swamps that may be productive in terms of agriculture and land occupied by state owned forests.

Local Government Land (District, Town and Municipality Land)
District, Town and Municipality Land consist of the land meant for the public domain of the district and town or municipality and their private owned land. The state may donate land to any district, town or municipality either reserved for public domain or as its own private land.

Individual Ownership
Individual land is composed of the land acquired through custom, written law that       excludes individual public land or private district, town, municipality and the City of Kigali land, the one acquired from competent authorities, purchased land, gift, and exchange and sharing

Procedures for Land Tenure Regularization in Rwanda

  • Notification of areas for an LTR program
  • Local information dissemination through public meetings and awareness raising with a particular focus on informing women and other vulnerable groups about the process
  • Appointment and training of local citizens to serve on Land Committees responsible for adjudication and recording claimant details (50% women required)
  • Demarcation of land marking of boundaries on a photographic image of the area in a participatory process
  • Recording of personal details for claimants (owners) as well as persons of interest, followed by issuance of a claims receipt, recording of objections and corrections where needed
  • Publication of adjudication record and compilation of a parcel index map
  • Objections and corrections period to finalize the record and disputant lists
  • Mediation period for disputes
  • Registration and titling, preparation and issuance of title document

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