NAI intern Birhanu Woldegiorgis.

Law and land in the Nile Basin

New project to clarify complex land issue

Land acquisition is a contentious issue in the Nile Basin. In this enormous area,  covering approximately one-tenth of the African continent, the River Nile is the vital artery. A new project has been initiated by NAI and the Stockholm International Water Institute to map the laws regulating land issues in the region.

“Making these laws easily available in comparative format for researchers and politicians will be an asset for understanding ongoing processes. It will also provide an historical perspective to see if laws change as more information on land acquisitions becomes available,” says Terje Oestigaard, acting leader of the rural research cluster.

What laws regulate land purchases?  In what regard do they differ among Nile Basin countries? Is water-use integrated into these laws? These are some of the questions NAI intern Birhanu Woldegiorgis will try to answer in an initial two-month project focusing on legislation in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

“The competing interests of corporate investment versus local land rights and the complex issue of farmers’ rights to sell their land are two issues I have started looking into,” explains Birhanu Woldegiorgis. He is an Ethiopian national and a Master’s student in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University.

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