Liberian President George Weah has signed a long-sought land reform law that gives local communities greater rights over “customary land” and lets foreigners and charities own property.
First drafted in 2014, the Land Right Act has nonetheless been criticized by some who say it weakens the rights of Liberians who live in rural areas, notably women.
Previously, the government could grant private companies long-term leases on non-titled lands that cover most of the west African country settled by former slaves from the United States and Caribbean.
“Land and labour are intertwined; one cannot be without the other. If you have land and there is no labour, you have a problem because land is an asset,” Weah commented as he signed the act late Wednesday.
Local communities can now claim ownership of customary land based on oral testimonies of community members, maps, signed agreements between neighboring communities and other documents. Land issues have fueled deadly conflict in Liberi in the past. -AFP