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ELEMENTS OF CONTEXT
Gabon is in many ways a unique country in Africa. Sparsely populated (about 6 people per KM2), the majority of the population lives 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)
HISTORY OF CITIES – HERITAGE
RIGHT TO HOUSING
The State of Gabon, in its Constitution (1991 has undergone several changes since) recognizes the right to housing in Article 1
Paragraph 10: “All of Gabon has the right freely to choose his domicile or residence anywhere in the country and to engage in all activities, subject to respect for public order and law.”
Paragraph 11: “The home is inviolable. It can not be ordered search by the judge or by the authorities designated by law. Searches may be executed in the form prescribed by it, (…). ”
Text of the Constitution : La Constitution.
The sale of land to farmers expelled the inhabitants ers other areas, even to foreign countries such as Cameroon. These expulsions have more place around mining areas (such as gold mines). (Pambazuka News)
Gabon has no national land policy. document the nearest land policy is an explanation of the colonial land policy in 1911, and whose laws 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 belong to the state … 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.
An important part of lands was assigned to international companies for mining, forestry and agribusiness. In 2011, CIFOR has indicated that Chinese companies had rights over a quarter of all the forests of Gabon! The study failed to discover if some of the money received by the State or was not returned to affected communities. These are mainly rural communities who are most affected by these practices. The people “discover” at some point a portion of their land not theirs more!
It seems that the procedure for obtaining a property right is particularly long and expensive: there would be up to 134 steps, requiring 70 signatures, with the need to pay at 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 State shall establish a National Housing Fund (NHF) and in 1976, the National Building Society (SNI) is created from the merger between the National Housing Corporation and the Gabonese Development of Real Estate and Equipment. A Crédit Foncier Gabon (CREFOGA) is also established as a specialized agency in housing finance.
Currently to tackle 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 to the more affluent population. (2)
Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic
Bibliography & Sitography
Les droits fonciers au Gabon – Faire face au passé et au présent, Liz Alden Wily, Publication FERN, 2012. synthesis
Terrassement pour 1000 logements, que l’on espère sociaux…, Loïc Ntoutoume, Gabon Review, 2012.
MAJOR PROBLEMS BY CIVIL SOCIETY
The network of human rights defenders in Central Africa – REDHAC denounces 2011-2012:
Multiple home demolitions, the destruction of movable and immovable property, causing massive expropriations and evictions of hundreds of homeless.
CLAIMS MAJOR CIVIL SOCIETY
CIVIL SOCIETY ACTORS
GABON ATTAC = movement of popular education, non-partisan organization composed of youth, students, women, businessmen, trade unionists … that the main objective of the public information on the major economic, political and social views of a general awareness of the challenges of globalization. Among the activities include the platform “Gabon – my land – my right.” Site Attac Gabon.
FERN = Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 1985 that aims to track the involvement of the European Union at the forest level. It aims at social justice and environmental sustainability. Site web FERN