Overlapping Land and Natural Resource Rights Creates Conflict in Africa

Author: Danielle King & Peter Veit, World Resources Institute, Published on: 11 December 2013

Land use conflicts between communities and mining companies...are common across Africa. In much of Africa, the bundle of land rights that most rural people legally hold is relatively small—usually limited to surface rights and certain rights to some natural resources on and below the surface, such as rights to water for domestic use...Africa’s governments often allocate these rights to outside, commonly foreign companies for large-scale operations. In other words, while many communities hold rights to the land, foreign companies hold the rights to the natural resources on or under the same plot. These overlapping rights oftentimes lead to conflict, unsustainable use of resources, and injustices...Africa’s laws grant broad authority to companies and significantly restrict land rights for landholders. This creates problems both for business and for rural communities. Conflicts over land use from overlapping land and natural resource rights have increased the risks and costs of doing business, while also creating hardships and losses for landholders. [refers to Golden Star Resources]

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Related companies: Golden Star Resources