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Why De Soto’s Ideas Might Triumph Everywhere But In Kenya: A Review Of Land-Tenure Policies Among Maasai Pastoralists

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is based on longitudinal research carried out among Maasai pastoralists in Kajiado District, Kenya since the late 1980s. It discusses the evolution of land-tenure arrangements from group to individual ownership in Kenya's Maasailand in the period from 1985 to 2000. The chapter addresses in particular the pros and cons of this process within the context of De Soto's claims that formal property rights will increase the incentive of households and individuals to invest and provides them with better credit access. Experiences in Kenya during the subdivision of the Maasai group ranches in Kajiado District, however, challenge this bold claim. The central government's initial opposition to the subdivision of group ranches seems to have changed to a standpoint of modest support. Foreign donors are sometimes involved in the formalization of land-tenure arrangements.

Keywords: De Soto's claims; Kajiado district; land-tenure policies; Maasai pastoralists; property rights



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