Securing land rights in Cameroon: what hasn’t worked and what should be done
Land in Cameroon is under growing pressure for many reasons — powerful commercial interests, changing climate conditions and shifting demographic flows including mass migration and increasing population density. The rights of rural communities and indigenous people to access and use land for farming and grazing have been eroded — primarily due to failure to recognise customary land tenure rights, land use conflicts and lack of effective local governance. The country’s land legislation is indeed outdated and not compatible with customary law and local realities. To resolve these challenges, since the 1980s both governmental and non-governmental organisations have trialled several initiatives. These have had mixed results, reflecting gaps in the legal framework. This briefing assesses these initiatives, and draws out recommendations to guide the current land reform process and ensure the rights of all are protected.