Rwanda decentralizes land title process

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The government of Rwanda has delegated official representative of the office of the registrar of land titles in each sector streamline the process of acquiring land deeds

Many Rwandans have had endure long queues to acquire documents at the district level, despite the fact that World Bank has commended Rwanda’s various strategies and policies that have enabled land registration to be easy and efficient.

Pothin Muvara, an official of the office of the registrar of land titles, said that the decentralization of the services will improve access and the registrars have been equipped with updated technology to do the job in an instant.

“It has been very hard for residents to get land titles and some have been making very long and unnecessary journeys to the district offices. This will stop immediately and services will be made accessible,” Muvara said

Muvara also said that there is new technology application being developed to have residents monitor the process and status which the applications and document approval has reached by using mobile phones.

Once the app is released, Muvara said that residents will not have to spend any more than just a click of a button, to know how far the process has reached after submitting applications.

Clarisse Izabayo, a sector leader in Rubavu district where this service is already in use says the initiative has reduced the number of land related issues and it is easy for owners to give proof of land ownership.

By 2014, 8.7 million Land titles had been processed by the government land management body, whereby 6 million of them have already been issued to land owners and another 2 million is scheduled to be handed over to owners.

Previously there has been only one land notary in every district, but the plan was to have a land notary at the sector level, to make registration of property easier than ever before.

The period of registering property has been reduced from 30 days to 12 days. Within Kigali city, it takes less than five days for someone to register his or her property.

The 2014 Doing Business report indicates that Rwanda made transferring property easier by both eliminating the requirement to obtain a tax clearance certificate and establishing the web-based Land Administration Information System for processing land transactions.

The report ranked Rwanda 32nd, as one of the best countries that have promoted the ease of doing business in the world, which helped the country to make a jump of 20 positions from its 52nd position in the 2013 report.

The decentralization of land registration and land title service is expected to boost the national decentralization process.

For the first time, Rwanda on Monday joined other African Union member states to celebrate the 2015 Africa Day of Decentralization and Local Development, which is provided for by the newly adopted African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Development.