Support to Land Reform

Project description

Title: Support to Land Reform
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Namibia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Land Reform (MLR)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

1. Informal settlement in Swakopmund


Like many other countries, Namibia is urbanising at a rapid pace. Between 2001 and 2011, the urban population increased from 32 to 43 per cent. In spite of its low population density of 2.9 persons per square kilometre, the country has a housing shortage. According to various sources between 600,000 and 995,000 people live in a total of 230 informal settlements throughout the country. That is 30 to 40 percent of the population. Living conditions in the settlements are precarious. The inhabitants are among the country’s lowest income earners and often unemployed. Although the government is working to install basic infrastructure, these informal settlements are continuing to grow unchecked. Their dwellers do not have any secure land rights. In cities and rural areas, the population does not have sufficient access to land, especially women and young people.


The access of land for landless households, with particular consideration of women and youth, is secured in urban and rural areas.

2. Savings Group Meeting Gobabis 2016


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Coorperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) assists the MLR through its Support to Land Reform Programme.

This has included conceptualising and implementation of the land reform agenda since 2003. GIZ supports MLR in various ways. Apart from policy development and programme implementation, GIZ also provides legal advice related to land reform and land governance, capacity building of key decision-makers and functionaries, organisational development of MLR, and land use planning.

Since July 2017, the focus of support is on the Urban Land Reform, with the implementation of the FLTS. With MLR as main implementing partner, the programme also supports other relevant actors in the land sector: line ministries and local authorities, the Namibia University for Science and Technology (NUST), and non-governmental organisations.

The project supports the piloting of the Flexible Land Tenure Act (FLTA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Land Reform, as well as concerned implementation stakeholders such as the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, the piloting relevant authorities Windhoek, Gobabis and Oshakati, as well as the concerned target group. 

The approach comprises both on-site upgrading of settlements as well as greenfield development. Following the layout planning and subdivision of the respective areas, the approach is focused on providing formal tenure rights through a block-approach. Specific characteristics of the FLTA comprise reduced surveying and registration costs, application rights that can cause the town authorities to act, as well as a strong community-focus in planning that is complemented by group ownership over public space complimenting the residential plots of a block and reduced procedural town planning requirements. 

The project is further investigating and promoting the potential of the participatory layout planning with organised groups as a critical lever to target softer settlement development measures focusing on the functionality of the settlement and taking into consideration livelihoods, lifestyles, and public space functions.


The adoption of the Flexible Land Tenure Act in 2012 created the basic legal framework for the introduction of alternative land tenure options. 

Since then, a corresponding implementing regulation has been developed, an implementation plan agreed upon, and initial capacity for the registration process was generated in the Ministry of Land Reform and pilot municipalities. 

Pilot projects are currently underway in three cities. For the first phase, a central Land Rights Office is being established in Windhoek and a computerised registration system is being developed. 


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