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Tenure Insecurity

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With a land area of just 26,338 sq km, Rwanda is a small, landlocked but densely populated country located in East Africa. Eighty five percent of working age Rwandans depend on agriculture for a living, putting additional pressure on the already scarce land availability. As such, land tenure is an important issue, not least because of two separate waves of enormous displacement caused by ethnic tensions in 1959 and 1994.

Land governance in the country is shaped by major land reform measures launched in 2005. Customary holdings were recognised but converted into leaseholds from the State through the Land Tenure Regularisation (LTR) programme, with nearly all land in Rwanda titled. As part of the LTR process, both husbands’ and wives’ names were included on the claimant’s register (as well as the names of their children) and widows were treated in the same way as married women to ensure their property rights were accounted for. Figures from 2012 showed that 81% of land was owned jointly by men and women.

Statistical Analysis

The impact of these successful reforms can be seen in Prindex data, which shows by far the lowest rate of perceived tenure insecurity among the first 15 countries sampled. Fewer than one in 12 Rwandans (8%) felt insecure about their tenure rights in 2018, an equivalent of 500,000 people aged 18 or over. Eighty nine percent of the sample interviewed felt secure about their properties and the remaining 3% refused or did not know how to answer the question. Women felt slightly less insecure than men about losing their property. Challenges remain in the Northern Province of Rwanda where rates of tenure insecurity are double the national average .

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


All respondents

All respondents

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Analysing Tenure Insecurity by category

Tenure type
Employment type
Income adequacy


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