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Legal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property$
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Ting Xu and Alison Clarke

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266380

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266380.001.0001

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The Legal Status of Customary Land Tenure Systems and the Protection of Communal Property in Cameroon

The Legal Status of Customary Land Tenure Systems and the Protection of Communal Property in Cameroon

Chapter:
(p.102) 6 The Legal Status of Customary Land Tenure Systems and the Protection of Communal Property in Cameroon
Source:
Legal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property
Author(s):

Walters Nsoh

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266380.003.0006

The ownership and utilisation of communal property are very much tied to the modern land tenure systems of most sub-Saharan African countries, which nevertheless still rely on the customary land tenure system to operate. But how exactly do the customary land tenure systems which remain operational in many parts of Africa fit into contemporary land ownership and use structures? Drawing on a broad interpretation of (African) customary land tenure and its elements, including its communal interest element, this chapter assesses the extent to which law and practice in Cameroon are developing and protecting communal property. Using developments in the protection of collective forest rights as an example, it demonstrates the continuous difficulty in reconciling Western land law principles on the ownership and use of communal property with customary land tenure systems in post-colonial sub-Saharan African societies, and the implications this may have for the wider rule of law in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords:   customary law, land tenure, communal property, forest, Cameroon

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