SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSPolicy BriefIssue No. 2016/02Dated: October 2016
Kenya is currently implementing a number of large scale infrastructure and development projects aimed at transforming the country into a newly industrializing, middle-income country. For this, the government has had to compulsorily acquire large tracts of land upon which the infrastructure is set.
The law often creates formal mechanisms to guarantee accountability in public systems that drive land acquisitions, but additional mechanisms are necessary to ensure legitimate community interests are addressed, and therefore the acquisition is accepted and supported by the affected local community.
This brief looks into the policy and legal provisions for the acquisition process, providing gaps and opportunities for community safeguards and good governance through legislation.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSPolicy BriefIssue Number: 2016/01Dated: October 2016
Kenya is going through a period of intense transition. The country's main development policy, Vision 2030, is just entering the second Medium Term Plan of Implementation from 2013. The development priorities focus extensively on large scale investments, for industrial, irrigated agriculture, utilization of newly discovered natural resources, and infrastructure development. Land is therefore a central commodity for realization of the sought after socioeconomic transformation. However, this poses significant risks to the dominantly rural population that still relies on subsistence agriculture or pastoralism for basic needs. The high levels of poverty raise the question of vulnerability to manipulation during land acquisitions, as well as exposure to negative impacts when social and environmental safeguards are not deployed to protect people during the involuntary displacement that often results when land is acquired for large development projects.This brief looks into the social, economic and environmental safeguards for communities as the state undertakes compulsory land acquisition for investment purposes.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSResearchDated: October 2016Land acquisitions, either driven by foreign investments or domestic investment needs have continued to polarize opinions. When this research was proposed, it was premised on arguments by scholars Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Helen Markelova, who had analysed agricultural land deals, and argued that there were potentially two schools of thought about foreign acquisitions over agricultural land. Their school of thought regards them as "beneficial investments" whereby investors are viewed as bringing needed investment, possibly improved technology or farming knowledge, thereby generating employment and increasing food production. Meinzen-Dick and Markelova further argued that because these land acquisitions, foreign and domestic, are ongoing at a very fast rate, it is necessary for host countries to focus on what they can do to seize the opportunities and mitigate the risks associated with the deals.
During implementation of the research project in Kenya, it became clear that although prior illustrations of land deals included foreign acquisitions (e.g. Dominion farms), a government economic policy focusing on mega infrastructure projects was driving (or expected to drive) a much higher pace of land acquisitions either for primary infrastructure, or for the economic activities that flowed from the primary infrastructure. This is in the context of the Lamu South Sudan Ethiopia Transportation Corridor (LAPSSET) project, which is a flagship means for realization of Vision 2030; Kenya's current national development plan. Thus, a national conversation is necessary to debate the crucial question of how to provide safeguards to protect the interests of local communities directly affected by these investments, including compensation of land that is taken, and their place in the socio-economic and environmental continuum of investment projects from design to implementation.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSResearchDated: April 2012
Land plays a vital and central role in the economic, social-cultural and political lives of both individuals and communities. Given its centrality in the socio-economic and political spheres, national goals such as economic development, poverty reduction, social and political stability are closely linked to land. Land provides the livelihood base for the bulk of the population especially in the rural areas where agriculture is the main occupation. Despite their importance, land and environment in Kenya have suffered decades of mismanagement that has led to the current state of degradation. There are many knowledge gaps that remain on how to effect the provisions through institutional arrangements, for effective environmental management.This paper draws lessons from the existing cases of community participation in environmental and natural resource management to inform the ongoing land reforms.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSResearchDated: June 2012
According to 2001 statistics, 924 million people, almost one third of the world's population lived in slums. A majority of these people are in the developing countries and they account for 43% of the urban population. Slums are characterized by a dense proliferation of small, makeshift shelters built from diverse materials, degradation of the local ecosystem and by severe social problems. Most of the developing countries are experiencing massive migration from rural areas to cities where the majority of these new urban dwellers settle in non-regularised areas, often in locations that are exposed to natural hazards (such as land slides and flooding) and to ill health, illiteracy and unemployment. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the largest population living in the slums. It is estimated that by the year 2030, the global number of slum dwellers is likely to double to about 2 million. Some of the challenges to affordable housing in both rural and urban areas have been identified as land tenure, financing, legal framework, building materials and appropriate technology. This study focuses on Kiandutu Slums in Kenya and proposes the use of geospatial technology in the provision of information for planning and decision-making in line with the National Land Policy (Sessional Paper No 3 of 2009) and the Constitution (Constitution of Kenya 2010) in order to provide a solution to mitigate challenges on land tenure, shelter, services, poverty and empowerment in our informal settlements. The study recognizes that the Government has made a policy commitment to establish a comprehensive, computer based, efficient, user friendly, accessible, affordable, transparent and gender sensitive land information management system (Sessional Paper No 3 of 2009, 163(a)). The study notes and reviews the ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Lands to develop a National Land Information Management System (NLIMS) with a view to establishing what efforts or mechanisms if any, have been made to provide for the inclusion of information from Kenya's informal settlements into the system. This study is expected to contribute to this effort. In addition, the study will be informed by lessons learnt from the Land Information for Informal Settlements (LIIS), an earlier initiative by the Ministry of Lands, the City Council of Nairobi and stakeholders which was conducted in Kibera's Soweto East slum village. This study further draws lessons from an initiative done under the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya to develop a proto-type Land Information System of the peri-urban zone of Nairobi covering parts of Kitengela in Kajiado.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSResearchDated: July 2012
The acquisition of land by foreigners in developing countries has emerged as a key mechanism for foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI is defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as the category of international investment that reflects the objective of a resident entity in one economy to obtain a lasting interest in an enterprise resident in another economy. With land as a significant basic factor of production, the entry of FDI in most countries often requires a non-citizen investor to engage with public authorities and private citizens on the acquisition of rights over land for investment purposes. Foreign acquisition of land in developing countries, such as Kenya, has been there, since colonial times. In the context of this research, the term land acquisition is applied to include actual purchases or leases of land by foreign or non-citizen entities, for purposes of investments. This is an important issue for Kenya, due to new constitutional rules that create restrictions on landholding by non-citizens (legal or natural), as part of ongoing land reforms. It is important to explore this element in the context of land requirements for investment purposes because the demand for such land is increasing. In any event, the constitution needs to protect local communities where any public land is set aside for local or foreign investment purposes.This research focuses on foreign or non-citizen investments. It aims to propose a policy or legislative process that will only permit investments that are beneficial to the economy and the people of Kenya.
SUMMARYRESEARCH REPORTSResearchDated: MAY 2012
Fiscal instruments are tools that governments use to manage revenue and expenditure and therefore influence the growth (or stability) of the various sectors of the economy. Government revenue is derived primarily through taxation. In Kenya, land taxation has contributed less than 1% of government revenue for the past three years. The Sessional Paper No. 3 on the National Land Policy provides for the establishment of clear fiscal framework for land management will generate public revenue; provide a stable fund for acquisition of land for banking, servicing land, facilitating the efficient utilization of land, providing incentives for appropriate land uses and discouraging speculation.This research assessed the land taxation, land use and land administration practices within Kajiado County with a view of making recommendations towards improvement of the land based taxation in order to improve its contribution to government revenue.The main land uses in Kajiado County are pastoralism; commercial, industrial and residential development; mining and quarrying; agriculture and wildlife conservation. The study found that the land use has changed over the past 10 years with 13.24% increase in agricultural land cover recorded due to increased cultivation; 42.5% increase in mining activity and a 30.9% increase in urban development. These land use changes need to be tapped to contribute to government revenue.The study found that the administration of land tax is done through the Local Authority, the District Land Registries while environmental levies are charged by NEMA, various Water Resources Boards, Local Authorities and the Judiciary and the District Environment Offices for environmental levies. The study further found that the community did not feel the impact of revenue collected primarily due to limitations in collection of land taxes, governance issues in land tax administration and the lack of up to date computerized information on fiscal cadastre. 75% of the study respondents were of the opinion that the tax level was adequate to meet revenue requirements and provide land management services.The study recommended various measures to increase the land tax base and improve land tax administration and its application for public benefit.