Land issues are one of the most important sources of disputes in Madagascar, for many reasons: (i) the almost sacred status of land and the relationship of land with the ancestors in the Malagasy tradition, (ii) the fact that most of the land occupied in practice are not registered from a legal standpoint, (iii) the co-habitation of traditional and social recognition of ownership and a land legal regime inherited from the colonization era and unsuited to local realities, or (iv) the practice and propagation of land scams operations.
Any operator or investor should always keep in mind these various issues when dealing with the land aspects of its operations.
The main laws governing land issues in Madagascar are:
– Law No. 2005-019 of 17 October 2005 setting forth the principles governing the status of land, which, as its name indicates, establishes the general principles governing the different legal status of land in the national territory (whether private or public lands of the State and of the decentralized communities, or land belonging to private individuals),
– Law No. 2006-031 of 24 November 2006 establishing the legal regime of untitled private land ownership, which aims to solve the issue unregistered but occupied land, by granting to the occupants certificates of recognition of their ownership rights (or « certificats fonciers« ), which are enforceable against third parties until proved otherwhise, but have less legal force than a true land title,
– Law No. 2008-014 of 23 July 2008 on the private domain of the State, decentralized communities and legal persons governed by public law, which defines more specifically the legal regime applicable to the land belonging to the private domain of legal persons governed by public law, as well as its implementing decree (Decree No. 2010-233 of 20 April 2010),
– Law No. 2008-013 of 23 July 2008 on the public domain, which defines more specifically the legal regime of the public domain of the State and of the decentralized communities, and
– Ordinance No. 60-146 of 3 October 1960 on the land registration regime.
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