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J Econ Behav Organ. 1998 Feb;34(1):1-47.

Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap.



This paper describes how the distribution of land access rights and the prevailing social fabric have evolved in a Rwandan village in the face of extreme land pressure. The study was conducted to gain a better understanding of the equity impact of land tenure individualization and the rising incidence of market transactions in such a context. The densely populated area studied during 1988-93 was in northwest Rwanda and belongs to the commune of Kanama in Gisenyi prefecture. Acute competition for land in a context characterized by too slow expansion of non-agricultural income opportunities has led to increasingly unequal land distribution and rapid processes of land dispossession through the functioning of the illegal land market and evolution of indigenous tenure arrangements. Also, the many land disputes and the threat of landlessness have led to rising tensions in social relations and even within the core of family life, paving the way for more overt expressions of discontentment and violence. A connection between those conditions and the civil war which erupted in 1994 is established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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