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The impact of secure land tenure on water access levels in sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Botswana and Zambia

Journal article
Authors Martin Sjöstedt
Published in Habitat International
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 133-140
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 133-140
Language en
Keywords Land tenure; MDG no. 7; Water; Institutions
Subject categories Peace and development research


The argument developed and tested in this paper contends that the lack of success in past decades when it comes to increasing water coverage levels – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa – is attributable to the institutional arrangements under which land is managed. In short, the starting point is that if water coverage levels are to increase, some form of investment in land, housing, water infrastructure, or wells needs to be undertaken – primarily by citizens themselves. However, in order for such investments to take place, citizens need some certainty that they will reap the rewards from their investments. This certainty is suggested to result from property rights to land, i.e., land tenure. This argument is tested through a mixed methodological approach including quantitative analysis and a comparative review of land policies of the two contrasting cases of Botswana and Zambia.

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