Business Magazine

What’s in a Title?

Posted on the 31 May 2011 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal
What’s in a title?

Participants discuss property market barriers at the Nairobi roundtable (Photo: CIPE)

What is the setting and who are the actors in this complicated story? The location: Kilifi, a resort town north of Mombasa, Kenya; the official: Kenya’s Education Minister Samson Ongeri; the investor: Kazrad Agencies; the developer: Greenbays Holdings. The case was finally decided by the local High Court which recently ruled the plot as public land after all, nullifying all the competing private titles. This high profile case poignantly illustrates the problem that Kenyans – from ministers to street vendors – continue to struggle with: property rights.

CIPE has been working with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Kenya to find out what barriers small businesses face in urban property markets. IEA has conducted focus groups and interviews with small entrepreneurs and real estate professionals in Nairobi and Mombasa. On May 12, property market experts gathered at a joint CIPE-IEA roundtable in Nairobi to discuss preliminary findings. The discussion pointed to many existing challenges and CIPE and IEA are using a property markets scorecard to illustrate not just the problem areas but also institutional linkages between them.

For instance, the disarray and unreliability of the land registry – illustrated by the story of the disputed plot in Kilifi – translates into many other problems for ordinary businesses. If a business doesn’t have a registered property title to the land it is using, or the title it has is considered insecure, that business cannot obtain a bank loan to operate and grow. And if several competing titles exist for the same piece of property, businesses depend on courts (which in Kenya are inaccessible and unaffordable for many entrepreneurs) to rule on which title is the legitimate one.

As one of the participants in the roundtable discussion said, “the status of the land registry is a hindrance to property ownership because conducting searches is costly and unreliable.” Somebody else put it in even stronger terms, “the sanctity of a property title has been lost.” Kenya’s National Land Policy and Chapter 5 of the new Constitution passed last year are supposed to tackle this and many other land-related issues. But as reforms are being designed to overcome the decades of what is often euphemistically called “irregular public land allocations,” the decision-makers must keep in mind that resolving complex property problems requires more than passing new laws or digitizing land records. It is above all an institutional reform challenge that touches on many aspects of how the state institutions function – or fail to function.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Kayleigh

    Five Things Loved About Wedding Kayleigh

    This is the fourth in a series of blog posts with a focus on those little things that make a wedding special. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Wedincentralpark
  • Democracy and the Politics of Intolerance

    Democracy Politics Intolerance

    A democracy allows government to reflect the will of the people. Or does it? Here I would like to understand a bit better the dynamics through which radical... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Dlittle30
  • Cable Girls – 1920s Era Women with a Modern Twist

    Cable Girls 1920s Women with Modern Twist

    Las Chicas del Cable – four women in 1920s Madrid – Cloche hats, colorful flapper frocks and bobbed hair. What’s not to enjoy about the new Netflix produced... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Glamourdaze
  • BADASS Art Journal Page - All of Me....

    BADASS Journal Page Me....

    Embracing all parts of me and surrounded by miracles - Art Journal PageI found a couple of passports photos of myself recently and I was criticizing them becaus... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Realityarts
  • Dutch Apple Loaf

    Dutch Apple Loaf

    This Dutch Apple Loaf is my kind of cake, soft and moist,  and filled with juicy chunks of apple and pecan nuts.  For a lovely hint of sweetness I have... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Shadesofcinnamon
  • A Jumbo Passion Project

    The climber, facing away from the wall, gingerly peers over his toes to watch his sky-blue T-shirt flutter to the ground. He takes a deep breath, then turns in... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Thervproject
  • Top 3 Dim Sum Restaurants in Chinatown

    Restaurants Chinatown

    Chicago’s Chinatown is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Sundays can be especially crowded in this area, usually around brunch, as dim sum, a... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago