By Chintu Malambo,

According to the Zambia National Lands Policy, administration and management of the land resources are for the benefit of present and future generations and, as land is a critical resource in Zambia, should be managed in a sustainable manner if Zambia is to prosper.

Secure property rights and efficient land registration are a cornerstone of any modern economy.  They give confidence to individuals and businesses to invest in land, allows landowners to borrow using land as a collateral, expands job opportunities, and enables governments to
collect taxes which are necessary to finance the provision of infrastructure and services to citizens.

For this reason, the Zambian government under the National Land Titling Programme has engaged Medici Land Governance through the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources to spearhead the issuance of 4 million title deeds to property owners using a Systematic Land Titling system.

This makes the titling process faster, better, and cost efficient. Medici Land Governance uses modern tools to capture data such as drone mapping, handheld GPS devices, and technologies such as blockchain.

Medici Land Governance Country Director Didier Sagashya describes secure property rights as those that ensure landowners’ rights are registered and protected by law.

“An efficient land registration system should allow recording of formal land rights in a systematic way ensuring better service delivery with the use of technology,” Mr Sagashya said.

He said secure property rights and efficient land registration system should be at the top of the global agenda as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals because they make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable among other benefits.

“The benefits this gives to property owners include security of tenure, considering both women and men rights as well as rights of vulnerable groups, reduce disputes on land in communities and landowners have the ability to use their titles to access finance, putting their land as collateral,” he said.

Emmanuel Tembo, the National Land Titling Centre Project Manager, also added that Systematic Land Titling is an effective way to improve land administration for the country and for the generation of revenue. He indicated that without land tenure systems that work, economies risk missing the foundation for sustainable growth, threatening livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable.

Mr Tembo pointed out that the Systematic Land Titling delivers mass Certificates of Title to communities, unlike the sporadic way where one is required to approach
government as an individual. “The system is cost effective and also helps citizens establish the extent of their land. This reduces incidences of disputes among them and also ensures that no one removes them from their land,” Mr. Tembo highlighted.

Meanwhile, Zambia Land Alliance Executive Director Patrick Musole says where there are land reforms taking place, Systematic Land Titling is an effective approach because economically, everything happens on the land.

He says proper land registration is a basis for recognition of citizens property rights which enables them to use the resources on their land more sustainably, and in turn improves their economic and social status
as a constructive force in society.

This shows that an efficient land registry system should not only be at the heart of sustainable development, it should also be lifted to the top of the global agenda.