The visiting Director General for Country Programmes in the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Mark Lawcock, has described that Land Tenure Regularisation programme that the British government is supporting as a success.
Lawcock made the remarks yesterday after visiting the land tenure project in Bumbogo Sector, Gasabo District and the implementation of Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) in Gikomero Sector also in Gasabo District. The British Government also supports the VUP programme.
Speaking to the press shortly after touring the projects, Lawcock, who is in the country for a 3-day working visit, said that the land tenure programme which is aimed at regularising land ownership, will be important in as far as improving peoples lives ‘enormously’ is concerned.
“This is a very important programme for the whole of Rwanda. The British Government is pleased to be able to help the Government of Rwanda implement this programme,” said Lawcock, who was flanked by Maria Eitel, President of Nike Foundation.
“It has taken a long time since 2002 to get to this stage, and it’s been important to take a long time because it is complicated and it is very important to do a very good job of it”.
He added that from his interactions with the residents who have benefited from the programme, the land tenure programme will go a long way in as far as resolving land disputes by allowing full ownership of land by families, thereby giving them the confidence to use their land in a more economical manner.
“I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the people we talked to, to have their land registered, and I was also impressed by the way disputes are seeking to be resolved.
“I think this is a very important programme, if everybody can have confidence over the land ownership, and if the process can help with the resolution of disputes, those are both very important successes,” Lawcock observed.
He said that the British government will continue to support the implementation of the national land tenure regularisation rollout together with the National Land Centre (NLC) until 2014.
Between 2002 and 2009, the British Government as a principal donor through DFID, provided ₤3.2m for the pilot project and will further inject in ₤20m to support the National rollout.
It is hoped that all Rwandans will be having land titles under one unified legal and administrative tenure system. All land will be centrally registered, each holder having legal title documents approved by the NLC and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Residents who interacted with the DFID and NLC officials revealed that the land titles will not only solve land disputes and conflicts but they will also enable them to access credit from financial Institutions by staking the titles as collateral.
“This development is timely, I now know that I fully own my two hectares of land and I am confident that I can use my land to develop my family and educate my children,” Esperance Mukabugingo, a widowed mother of four who was at the verge of losing her land to her Mother in-law.
So far 3,481 families in the seven Cells of Bumbogo Sector have had their land registered.
Lawcock also visited the VUP project in Gikomero Sector where residents are directly involved in activities geared towards the implementation of the Vision 2020 programme.
The social protection programme which started in 2007 is aimed at reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty from 36.9 percent to 24 percent by 2012. It is being implemented by the government with the support of the British Government.