I MAY CONFESS that I am a fan of the US Cleveland Cavaliers basketball club and most importantly, impressed by one of their slogans: “defend the land”! Land is barely a crucial asset that means a lot as a property but also as a legacy. Rwanda has conducted a successful national wide Land Tenure Regularization (LTR) programme undertaken during the period of 2009-2013 which implied land demarcation, adjudication, parcels digitization and land registration parcel by parcel, making every land record kept in a land registry which is 100% digital. The systematic land registration resulted in registering more than 10.4 millions parcels and issuance of 8.8 millions of land titles to the land owners. The land registration throughout the LTR has increased the value of land as an instrument of collateral to raise access to finance and market transactions which globally boosted productivity. The post LTR era to date has been characterized by the maintenance of the land registry such as land merging, land subdivision, area correction, sporadic registration, transfer of ownership and many other transactions which are now available from Irembo, the application gateway for all government services. IREMBO has globally made it possible to apply and pay for services online and this has drastically reduced the cost associated to transport fees and waste of time due to multiple trips people had to do to access and pay for government services. For land services, land issuance happens at the sector’s office and this requires the applicant to make additional trip to collect the physical land title. The digitalization division in the Environment and Emergency Management sectors is working hand in hand with the National Land Authority to implement an Electronic Land Title feature which will change the way land owners perceive land services. Initially, the National Land Authority has elaborated the Instructions of the Chief Registrar of the Land Titles together with all the key partners that use land titles in their transactions in order to ensure all the required inputs to the project are gathered and documented in these instructions which will guide the usage of e_Title. The development work is being completed by the digitalization team to make sure that everything is ready for deployment once these instructions are published in the official gazette. The operationalization of e-title feature is set to be launched before end of 2022. Electronic land titles are going to change the way people perceive land services because there will be no need to make trips to the sector office or to the registrar’s office to pick the physical land title rather, after the application is approved by the Registrar of the Land Titles, the owner of the land will get a notification with a link to be used to download and save the digital copy of his/her land title. This means the issuance is going to be done straight away after Registrar’s approval and people will get rid of days they used to wait for printout and transportation of printed titles from the districts to the sectors’ offices. It is obvious that the National Land Authority will have to update the citizen charter after analyzing the time it takes from the application to the approval of land transactions after the printout step is removed from the process. Usually, citizens and applicants to land services are using IREMBO during the application process but as well, they need to go to the sector office for application sign off and go back to the same office to collect the printed land titles once approved and printed out. These visits are costly, and time-consuming and they will be reduced once the e-land title is implemented. Once e_Title feature is fully implemented and deployed, the transactions that do not need to be processed by land notaries will be fully online on Irembo and Rwandans including those living in diaspora, will be able to enjoy the automated land services and instantly get access to their land titles at their fingertips through their devices without making any single visit or involving third parties which would necessitate provision of the power of attorney for representation purpose. The government and land owners share the cost of land title printout where for instance for each new title, citizens have to pay 5,000 Rwf. With e_Title, this cost will no longer be paid by the land owner but on top of this, the government will no longer pay for printer leasing fees, templates used to print the land titles out and staff involved in printing will serve in speeding up land services as the burden will be thrown away from them. However, anyone who will need to get a printed copy due to outstanding circumstances shall make a special request to the National Land Authority with highly motivated reasons and obviously pay the corresponding cost. The most common issue with the physical titles is their replacement while lost, damaged or destroyed. A cumbersome process has to be undertaken by the owner starting from using the media to look for the lost title, the owner has to provide the proof that a period of two weeks has passed since the owner has announced the loss at least on one radio station with wide audience in Rwanda or at least in one newspaper published in Rwanda; sign an affidavit before the land notary where that land is located. In case the title is damaged or partially destroyed due to fire or natural disasters, the owner has to provide the remaining parts of the land document whereas the title is completely destroyed, the owners have to sign the affidavit before the notary in land matters where that particular land is located. The advantage of electronic land title also will be the smooth access to other services such as financial services, building permits, justice services, tax clearance, fertilizers and agriculture services as well as other transactions requiring land title as a triggering document. As far as system integration is concerned, the service providers will no longer request the physical title but rather will get land information from the land registry and eventually the digital copy of the land title from LAIS while processing their transactions. One of the characteristics of fit for purpose land administration is incremental improvement, where systems should be designed to initially meet the basic needs of society through balancing cost, accuracy and time for land services and governance toward tenure security. Land systems should as well take into account the key FFP principles namely: spatial framework, legal framework and institutional framework. The new land law published in the official gazette on June 10th 2022 has made provisions on digitalization of land services and this will be done through flexible ICT approach rather than high-end technology solutions in the implementation of electronic land title feature and digitizing land services to establish at the end, a paperless land registry. There is no dosubt that due to the introduction of electronic land title, the time taken for property registration will hugely decrease and this will encourage people to register the changes in the land registry which will in return, help to mitigate the informal land transactions. To conclude, I would not only recommend to “defend the land” as Cavaliers say, but mostly commend to “defend the land ownership registration through technology” for tenure security for all! Athanase Akumuntu is Business Analyst in the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management. The views expressed in this article are of the author.