Zambia: Land And Property Rights

Zambia is a landlocked country in south-east Africa with a population of 17.1 million (2017). It has a reputation for political stability but faces challenges, particularly rural poverty. Per capita GNI is US$1,300 but nearly 58% of the population live under the poverty line. In 2017, 53% of the employed population worked in farming, but agriculture, forestry and fishing contributed only 7.2% to GDP. Around fifty seven percent of Zambia’s population now lives in rural areas, down from 82% in 1960.

The 1995 Land Act and the Constitution vest all land in Zambia with the President. There are two main tenure types: customary and state leasehold. Most land is held under customary tenure. Both formal law and custom govern women’s land rights in Zambia. Formal law and policy supports women’s property rights, prohibits gender-based discrimination and aims to allocate 50% of all land available to women, with the remainder competed for by both men and women. Lack of statistics means it is difficult to see if these targets are being achieved.

Statistical analysis

Prindex’s results show that 27% of respondents felt insecure about their tenure rights in 2018 – an equivalent of 2.2 million people aged 18 or over, and higher than the average of the first 15 countries. Seventy percent of the sample interviewed felt secure about their property rights and the remaining 4% refused or did not know how to answer the question. Due to the increasing urban population and reports of land disputes in urban areas, the six-percentage-point difference between the proportion of respondents in urban and rural areas that felt insecure is noteworthy.

The tables and diagrams below show key Prindex results for Zambia or you can download an infographic.