Socio-Economic Land Data Management in Benin

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G. HONFOGA, Barthelemy
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Land is at the heart of any country’s development, especially for agriculture, housing, environment, health, safety, and human security. It is a critical production factor in agriculture which, in Benin accounts for more than 70% of the labor force and contributes on average about 32% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)1 . Land in Benin is shared between agriculture (29%), residential areas (33%) and forest, mineral reserves, and hydroelectric dams (38%). The new land law (voted in 2013 and revised in 2017) is meant to correct the imperfections of previous land laws, and regulate land leases in respect of equity issues, including the access by women and the youth to land2 . Yet, in rural areas, customary norms still coexist with formal state laws, sometimes with confusing practices on the ground. The recent rural land registration and land certificate project3 , for implementing the law through geo-localization and participatory property right validation process, has not yet reached all rural areas, and the related socio-economic data are scanty and not appropriate for research and policy-making. Indeed, the data did not accrue from comprehensive land survey guidelines. Owing to the various problems arising from land use, and to the current imperfections in the application of the law, an inventory of available socio-economic land data is required to better inform land policies, and foster sustainable land governance and land management in Benin.