Overlapping Land and Natural Resource Rights in Africa: A Comparative Analysis – slide presentation
Peter Veit discussed the authorities granted by government to natural resource licensees to enter onto and use privately-held land (including communal/customary land and private conservancies) for purposes of exercising their resource rights. He focused on petroleum and mineral concession holders in Ghana, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda. Some comparison was also made with the authorities granted to the holders of tree and forest rights.
Veits work with the World Resources Institute (WRI) has focused on the spectrum of restrictions on privately-held landfrom restrictions with minor impacts on land use and values to regulatory takings. Of note is the contrast with US land rights where land ownership comes with rights to many natural resources, while in the study countries, there are separate and distinct land and many natural resource property rights regimes. Veits research shows that mineral and petroleum laws provide resource licensees with considerable authorities to use private land for their operations.
The situation with trees and forests is more complex but in some countries the forestry laws better recognize land rights than mineral and petroleum laws. Still, commercial use usually requires government approval management plans and certain species have use restrictions or are fully protected.
There is ample room to increase options for landowners to lobby for stronger land rights such as requesting rent from licensees to use private land, mandating landholder consent for licensees to use natural resources, and allowing landowners to use land in conjunction with licensee, etc. Many contradictions exist between land and natural resource laws that need to be harmonized.