Between Habit and Legislation: Land Rights in West Africa
Approaches for the implementation of women's land rights in Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo
The majority of the population in Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo lives from agriculture and
livestock. The legal framework for land management is characterised by a dualism between state
laws and traditional customary rights. Local customary laws still mainly govern the ownership, use
and transfer of land. Only a few small farmers are officially registered as landowners at state level.
In this context, women have de facto no secure access to land – despite legal equality and their
key role in agriculture. In order to strengthen the process of implementation of modern land laws
and thus the economic role of women and food security, an in-depth dialogue and close
cooperation between the women directly concerned, civil society organisations, customary and
religious authorities, public authorities and other policymakers is necessary.