Peri-urban redistribution of land in Uganda: social and socio-economic implications
Matian van Soest
(University of Cologne)
Paper short abstract:
Current changes in land ownership in the urban fringes of central Uganda, driven by urban expansion, have far reaching implications for the local landless. Drawing from recent ethnographic data, this paper sheds light on the socio-economic processes related to the redistribution of land in the area.
Paper long abstract:
Land tenure in central Uganda is partly rooted in regulations made by the British colonial administration who divided land amongst the Baganda royals, as well as other notables, at the turn of the last century. Still today, ownership rights are divided among relatively few people, the large majority of the population occupying land based on lease-like arrangements, so-called Bibanjas. The Ugandan capital Kampala is rapidly growing and expanding outside of its administrative boundaries. The increasing demand for affordable land can be felt especially in the peri-urban areas of the city, where rural land-uses are still dominating. Specially in Kampala's fringes, land owners sell off large parts of their land to real-estate firms, who in turn resell the land, subdivided into plots, to the upcoming Kampala middle class. In this process, local smallholders are driven off their agricultural land and are deprived of an important source of income. Theses developments are rapidly changing the land-use patterns in the area and are putting pressure on the poorer parts of the local population, who will have to adapt to these ownership changes by finding new ways of income. Drawing from ethnographic data collected between 2014 and 2016, and a perspective from Political Ecology, I will shed light on the far-reaching social and socio-economic implications of the current changes in land ownership and use in the peri-urban zones of Kampala in central Uganda.
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