Land Expropriation and Compensation Payment in Ethiopia: Review

Gashaw Tenna Alemu


In Ethiopia, land is the main economic, political, social and cultural asset. It is the crucial source of generating livelihood income for society. It remains an asset that farmers have to accumulate wealth and transfer the same to future generation. Rural farmers and pastoralists are guaranteed a plot of land free of charge while urban residents can secure the same through ground lease arrangements. Thus, this paper aimed to review the state of land expropriation and compensation payment in Ethiopia. Expropriation occurs when a public agency (for example, the provincial government and its agencies, regional districts, municipalities, school boards and utilities ) takes property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest, even though the owner of the property may not be willing to sell it. Thus, land expropriation to the periphery is aggravated by development projects such as industry, infrastructure, communication and road networks. Displacement due to land expropriation is more significant issue in developing countries than developed countries because, the majority of the people in developing countries live highly concentrated in the periphery depending on agriculture with fragmented land holdings. This is common in countries like Ethiopia where land remains government’s property and amount of compensation paid depends on government’s decision. The urban land lease policy is not very friendly to rural households land in general and the poor land holders in particular. The policy implementation process has not taken in to account the life of rural peasants living in vicinity of cities. As a result, the implementation of the policy has been marginalizing the rural settled peasant communities. The non-farm based economic sector was not able to absorb those displaced farmers, as most of them are unskilled labour. Thus, Land expropriation and compensation issues takes more policy and implementation emphasis.

Keywords: Land Expropriation, Compensation Payment, Displacement, and Land Use Right

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