Annual Forum Papers

How tenure security can increase access to economic oppportunities for the poor

  • Year: 2008
  • Organisation: Development Works and Leap
  • Author(s): Lauren Royston
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

The question that concerns this paper is: how can greater security of tenure increase access to economic opportunities for the poor? Because of the relationship of tenure to property, the primary concern of this paper becomes: how secure access to property can increase economic opportunities for the poor. Rephrased, the concern of this paper is: what routes to increased economic opportunity does property provide and how can this potential be enhanced? Tenure security is about defendable rights and enforceable duties to property and benefits flowing from it and rules, procedures and systems for managing these property rights and duties (Leap, 2005). Secure tenure would enhance that potential. Conversely, insecure tenure would undermine it.

The paper intentionally focuses on 'tenure security, rather than 'title', to accommodate a broader conceptualization of tenure arrangements and economic possibilities, and a more pro-poor perspective, than a more limited focus on tenure form, and title in particular, would allow.

Although the paper incorporates productive uses of land in its consideration of economic opportunities, these are home based. In other words, its focus is on residential property, and potentials for increased economic opportunity associated with it.