Autochthony and Land Access in Côte d’Ivoire: Some Key Issues
Lecture by Jean-Philippe Colin, UMR SENS, IRD Montpellier.
This talk presents a general discussion of the relationships between autochthons and migrants regarding the latter’s access to land in Côte d’Ivoire. The first part of the talk shows how the autochthon-migrant dichotomy has structured land issues in southern Côte d’Ivoire since the colonial time. Through this perspective, it discusses key issues such as the social embeddedness of land transfers, land commoditization, and land conflicts, framed in the contexts of colonial and postcolonial (land) policies. The second part of the talk offers a counterpoint to this general picture, through the presentation of migrants’ land access in a former no man’s land characterized by a lack of autochthonous stakeholders. Two key insights arise. (i) In this context, the initial access to land took place without major conflicts, as the pioneers, beyond their ethnic differences, shared a set of regulatory principles seen as legitimate. (ii) Later on, compared with other regions in Côte d’Ivoire the increasing land scarcity did not result in manifest conflicts; this can be related to the absence of autochthons who could present claims over land. The last part of the talk tackles the question of autochthony with regard to the 1998 land law (which started to be implemented only recently), which aims at organizing a rapid transition towards private property rights through a nationwide certification and titling program. Concerns can be expressed with respect to the implementation of this law, to the extent that it excludes foreigners from land ownership and implicitly privileges autochthony as the main source of legitimate entitlement to ownership rights, opening up the possibility of excluding even Ivorian immigrants from legal registration.
Jean-Philippe Colin is a Director of research at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Montpellier, France. He conducts his research in an approach combining institutional economics and economic ethnography. He has worked extensively on land issues in Mexico, Algeria and Côte d’Ivoire. His current research interest lies in the evolution of property rights, land markets and kinship dimensions of land access in Côte d’Ivoire. He recently engaged the last phase of a four-decade longitudinal study of a village in the Sud-Comoé region, and co-edited a handbook: Foncier rural et développement. Enjeux et clés d’analyse en sciences sociales (IRD & Quae Editions, forthcoming).
This event will be held online, please register in advance: https://tinyurl.com/2vxbsymx
This event is part of the lecture series:
ZMO Colloquium Winter Semester 2021/22
Political Economies of Original Inhabitation
ZMO / Online