World Bank: Strengthen property rights for land reform

Land reform must occur, but within a regime of secure property rights, the World Bank believes.

Speaking to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) on Tuesday, Marek Hanusch, a senior economist for the World Bank's global practice for macroeconomics, shared the organisation’s view on land reform.

Hanusch briefed the committee on research in the World Bank’s book: An incomplete transition: Overcoming the legacy of exclusion in South Africa, published in April 2018.

The book makes policy proposals to address inequality and poverty. It addresses the challenge of skewed distribution of land and productive assets, as well as weak property rights.

"Skewed distribution is a problem. Land reform must happen; in our view, in a regime of secure property rights," Hanusch said.

To address skewed distribution, the World Bank proposes strengthening extension services, financing, training, access to inputs and capital equipment, and marketing and transport infrastructure for small-scale and emerging farmers.

Property registration and transaction processes must be improved. This applies to RDP houses too, the organisation says.

The World Bank also proposes private sector involvement, in the form of a partnership to speed up the roll-out of social and affordable housing.

Lastly, the World Bank proposes that Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) should be more broad-based. The World Bank suggests that the BEE accreditation system should be strengthened, and that the unintended investment impacts of BEE should be evaluated.

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