The Modernisation of Land Services and Institutional Strengthening Project, a component of the 2007 Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Lesotho ‘Compact,’ was executed by LEI over a 40 month period - October 2009 and February 2013. LEI thank all our counterparts who contributed to making this project a success and wish the staff of the LAA all the best for a successful future.
The primary objective of the project was to address deficiencies in the delivery of land administration services in Lesotho by supporting the creation of a new Land Administration Authority (LAA) - merging the Deeds Registry and the surveying functions of the Department of Land, Survey and Physical Planning to form a new, modern, cost-effective and efficiently managed organisation.
The project formed a major component of the Land Administration Reform Programme carried out under the Private Sector Development (PSD) component of the Compact with the policy objective of enhancing the investment climate in order to increase private sector investment. Having an institution capable of delivering secure land rights in an efficient and equitable manner underpins this objective.
The project focused on institutional strengthening, capacity building and making improvements to the legal framework. As a result of LEI’s efforts the LAA has been successfully established as a fully operational, autonomous Government agency reporting to the Minister of Local Government Chieftainship and Parliamentary Affairs.
While it is still early days in terms of determining the direct impact, there are tangible indications that the organisation is helping to develop Lesotho’s emerging land market. The number of leases being issued as a result of ‘sporadic registration’ (i.e. not including leases issued as a result of the systematic regularisation component of the LARP) has increased more than two fold since project inception. Subsequently, the number of secondary transactions handled by the LAA, has increased from 176 to 329 over the same period indicating a growing confidence in the formal land market. Realising the potential of formalised tenure, there has also been a two fold increase in the number of mortgages registered by the LAA, 153 in 2009 increasing to 308 in 2012. This indicates improved confidence on the part of lenders to secure loans against registered leases (titles) and an increased understanding amongst citizens of the importance and use of land as an economic asset.