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The New Land Act and Its Possible Impacts On Urban Land Markets In Tanzania

J. M. Lusugga Kironde

April 2003, English

This paper was written for and presented at a Lincoln Institute course titled, “Comparative Policy Perspectives on Urban Land Market Reform in Eastern Europe, Southern Africa and Latin America,” held July 7-9, 1998.

Like other sub-Saharan African countries, Tanzania has been urbanizing rapidly. The proportion of the national population now living in urban areas is estimated to be over 30 percent, up from 14 percent in 1978. While the overall population growth rate is 2.8 percent per annum, the rate of urbanization is around 11 percent. One major aspect of this rapid urban development has been the shortage of land necessary for orderly urban development. Overall, less than 10 percent of people obtain land from the public authorities, and the ability of the authorities to provide land has declined over the years. According to the Survey and Mapping Division of the Ministry of Lands, 21,000 urban plots were surveyed nationally in 1972–1973, but in 1997–1998, only 5,429 plots were surveyed (Government of Tanzania 1999a). Instead, the majority of people acquire land from the informal system, usually buying it from those who purport to own it by virtue of earlier occupation or customary tenure (Kironde 1997; 2000). An active, unregulated informal land market exists in most urban areas: in Dar es Salaam an estimated 70 percent of residents live in unplanned areas, and in Mwanza, the second largest urban area in the country, the estimate is 74 percent (Kironde 1997).