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ELEMENTS OF CONTEXT
Gabon is in many ways a unique country in Africa. Very sparsely populated (about 6 inhabitants per KM2), most of the inhabitants live in urban areas (86%). This explains the low attention given to land management in rural areas. In addition, a significant proportion of this population is not native to Gabon, from other countries in West Africa or France. (1)
Central African Republic is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. The country has been unstable since independence from France in 1960 and in the following three decades, has sustained a series of coups, political oppression under military rule and frequent political unrest. A decade of civilian rule ended with another coup in 2003. Finally, in May 2005, a democratically-elected government was sworn in.
Located approximately 500 miles north of the equator, CAR is a landlocked country with little or no industrial base. Most commodities are imported, making the cost of living very high. The proceeds from the country’s precious natural resources, including diamonds and timber, have not benefited the majority of the people. (3)
HISTORY OF CITIES – HERITAGE
During three years (2000–2003) of armed conflict, many houses were burned down, leaving thousands of families homeless. Lack of housing, therefore, remains one of the greatest obstacles towards rebuilding this conflict-ridden country: Infrastructure and public transport are extremely poor or non-existent and high-quality building material is not readily accessible.
Most houses are small and round, have one room and are made of mud and wattle, covered by straw and bamboo roofs that require constant repair. These homes are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions and serve as a host to rodents, which often carry disease. The tiny houses are also overcrowded, as families unable to afford rented accommodation move in with relatives. In rural areas, families have an average of five children, and some have as many as twelve. (3)
RIGHT TO HOUSING
The State of Gabon, in its Constitution (1991 has undergone several changes since) for the right to housing in Article 1
paragraph 10: “All Gabonese has the right freely to choose his domicile or residence in any part of the national territory and to exercise all activities, subject to compliance with public policy and the law.”
paragraph 11: “The home is inviolable. It may not be ordered to search by the judge or by the authority designated by law. The searches can be performed only in the manner prescribed by it, (…) ”.
Text of the Constitution: The Constitution.
The sale of land to farmers expelled the inhabitants ers other areas, even to foreign countries such as Cameroon. These evictions have more place around the mining areas (such as gold mines). (Pambazuka News)
Gabon does not have a national land policy. document nearest land policy is an explanation of the colonial land policy in 1911, which legal provisions dating from 1090 to 1910 are still the basis for modern land legislation in Gabon.
The state does not recognize customary tenure, or in urban areas or in rural areas. And dispossession of land are common. The Act provides that the property acquired through the purchase of land to the state and the issuance of an official title for these plots. In addition, there is a statement that all forests are state-owned … in a country where 85% of the area is wooded!
It is only in urban areas a cadastre is maintained while in rural areas, people do not hold hardly any title.
A significant portion of public land was allocated to international companies for mining, forestry and agro-industrial operations. In 2011, CIFOR has indicated that Chinese companies had rights over a quarter of all forests in Gabon! The study failed to find out whether some of the money obtained by the state or not it was donated to the affected communities. These are mainly rural communities that are most affected by these practices. The people “discover” at some part of their land when no longer belongs to them!
It seems that the procedure for obtaining a property right is particularly long and expensive: there are up to 134 steps, requiring 70 signatures, with the need to pay every step! (1)
SOME INTERESTING PRACTICES
Social and economic aspects
QUALITY OF HOUSING
INFORMAL HOUSING / SLUM / HOMELESS
ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
In the 70s, new structures are put in place by the Government. In 1973, the government established a National Housing Fund (NHF) and in 1976, the National Building Society (SNI) is created, born of the merger between the National Office of Housing and the Gabonese Company Development of Real Estate and facilities. A Credit Foncier of Gabon (CREFOGA) is established as an agency specializing in housing finance.
Currently, to address the housing deficit in the Gabonese capital, the Government decided (2012) to engage in the construction of social housing. It seems that the price will only be accessible layers wealthier population. (2)
Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic
Bibliography & Sitography
Ordered List Item Land Rights in Gabon – Dealing with the past and present , Liz Alden Wily, Publishing FERN, 2012. [[http://www.fern.org/search/apachesolr_search/gabon(Synthèse).pdf|synthesis]
Excavation for housing in 1000, we hope social … Loïc Ntoutoume Gabon Review, 2012.
Habitat for Humanity