Understanding Land Management Institutional Arrangements in Sub-Saharan Africa; Case studies from Nigeria and Rwanda

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Land management includes activities aimed at promoting specific objectives related to land. These activities are supported by land management institutional arrangements, which are rules and systems used to plan and manage land-related activities and which vary between countries and regions. While some countries and regions have established generally functional land management institutional arrangements, others stand in dire need of improvement. Before institutional arrangements can be improved, however, it is important first to understand them. This dissertation focuses on the context of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the land management institutional arrangements do not yet adequately facilitate the sustainable use of land and its resources. This dissertation aims to improve the understanding of land management institutional arrangements in SSA. More specifically, it investigates how these institutional arrangements can be examined in the context of SSA and subsequently describes the characteristics of the institutional arrangements that particularly influence land management in the region. A combination of qualitative methods was used in this research, including a systematic and hermeneutic literature reviews, thematic analysis and content analysis of primary and secondary data. The present study introduces three novel approaches to examining land management institutional arrangements in SSA: the holistic evaluation approach, institutional analysis approach and social media approach. These approaches were employed to understand case studies of Rwanda's Organic Land Law 2005, customary land institutions in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Nigeria's Rural Grazing Area Settlement Programme, respectively. The findings from the case studies suggest that, to an extent, these approaches are useful, effective tools that provide a more in-depth view of institutional arrangements. Additionally, the findings indicate that the approaches can detect inadequacies that contribute to the underperformance of institutional arrangements in land management. The dissertation also identifies the important characteristics of land management institutional arrangements in SSA, which include regulating land access, protecting rights to land, specifying rights and obligations and providing land information and service delivery. This dissertation contributes to the land management literature by drawing attention to the critical importance of understanding land management institutional arrangements in themselves. In addition, it offers approaches by which policymakers and practitioners can more accurately picture land management institutional arrangements. These approaches can be employed to ensure that well-informed strategies are developed to improve these institutional arrangements in SSA.
Translated title of the contributionInstitutionaalisten järjestelyjen rooli osana kestävää maanhallintaa Saharan eteläpuolisessa Afrikassa
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Riekkinen, Kirsikka, Supervising Professor
  • Krigsholm, Pauliina, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-64-1114-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-1115-6
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • land management
  • institutional arrangements
  • land law
  • land-related policy
  • customary land institution
  • holistic evaluation
  • social media


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