Land Use, Ownership and Allocation in Sudan:
The Challenge of Corruption and Lack of Transparency
7th October 2016
The Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), is pleased to announce the release of its report on the challenges of corruption and lack of transparency in land use, ownership and allocation in Sudan. The report is SDFG’s second in a series of publications on corruption and lack of transparency
Lack of transparency and corruption are rampant across Sudan. Many stories were published in different media outlets about the magnitude, scope and penetration of corruption in the public and private sectors in Sudan. However, these stories have failed to mobilize the grassroots to demand accountability; instead they ended up as sensational stories for public consumption and gossip. SDFG launched its ambitious Sudan Transparency Initiative (STI) in March 2015, an initiative dedicated to the study and documentation of corrupt practices and lack of transparency in Sudan, with the objective of raising awareness and mobilizes citizens to demand accountability.
The Land use, ownership and allocation report, published under the SDFG’s STI program, detailed a number of findings and here are some of them:
In Abu Gubeiha town (Eastern Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan), in 2004, 93% of the conflict cases reported in court were of resource-based nature involving pastoralists and farmers.
The 1970 Unregistered Land Act and other legislation that followed, especially the 1990 Investment Act and its revised versions in 2007, 2012, and 2013, have alienated small holders and set in motion a progressive process of their marginalization.
In North Kordofan, all of the 23-recorded conflicts in 2002 were of a resource-based nature.
The Kajbar Dam project will displace more than 10,000 people and submerge an estimated 5,000 archaeological sites
Grazing lands in Gedarif State has declined from 28,250 square km (78.5% of the state’s total area) in 1941 to 6,700 square km (18.6% of the state’s total area) in 2002
By 1990 two hundred mechanized farms in Habila were allocated as follows: four to local co-operatives; one to a consortium of local merchants, four to local merchants and 191 to absentee landlords – mainly merchants, government officials, and retired army officers.
The following table details the number of agricultural projects and size of lands leased to Arab and non-Arab investors in Sudan.
The land report concludes with specific policy and institutional reform recommendations that would, with other similar initiatives, advance the call for serious anti-corruption and transparency policies and mechanism, as well as serve as rallying cause for anti-corruption campaigns. The report finds that the main causes of corruption in Sudan’s land sector are mainly related to the lack of transparency in the regulations, rules, and acts that govern land use in the country, partly due to their frequent changes, the neglect of the local communities’ ideas and concern and the limited access to information. In addition, official policies of large scale agricultural investment “land grabbing” has led to conflicts between pastoralists and farmers on the one hand and the mechanized scheme owners and oil companies on the other. The discovery and exploitation of oil has intensified the rush and competition for land grabbing at different levels, from the federal government to the levels of tribes, clans and households, and consequently land possession became a key factor of conflict in the country’s rural areas.
SDFG would like to point out that the land use, ownership and allocation report is by no means inclusive of all issues surrounding the land question in the Sudan, but it is an attempt to draw broad outlines of land use, ownership and allocation and lay the foundation for future targeted studies.
Read the full report here