This page last updated on 14 March, 2008

Mar '08
Land Tenure Economics in Kenya

This is a really interesting presentation that I gave quite recently (March 4th '08) in Nairobi at ICRAF – the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, aka World Agroforestry Centre. The talk discusses the economic benefits from Private Tenure, defined here as land held under secure, enforceable and freely transferable title deed, compared with Customary Tenure. The data speak for themselves – economic gains from private tenure are vast, and easily outweigh any social disadvantages.

Yet, very curiously, there is a raging debate as to whether Private Tenure is "appropriate" for Africa. The wannabe social engineers in development agencies and (foreign funded) civil society NGOs insist that Customary (communal) Tenure is the most appropriate and forward looking policy for Africa, one which melds seamlessly with African traditions and one which avoids the social disruptions when Private Tenure "goes wrong". They claim this is a "pro-poor" approach – which indeed it is as it condemns farmers to unremitting and grinding rural poverty.

So, should one be exercised by such quaint aberrations? YES – because these self same social engineers seriously plan to turn the clock back and replace Private Tenure with Communal Tenure (in one guise or another). In Kenya this could potentially cost the economy some billion US$ each year in foregone agricultural revenues. Pro-poor and pro-poverty indeed!

Enjoy! Download presentation and/or presentation notes.

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Mar '08
Godzilla v. King Kong

OK – no more Mister Nice Guy. In 2006/07 the Wildlife Policy Review process in Kenya was highjacked totally by the animal welfare lobby in their quest to prevent the reintroduction of any consumptive utilisation of wildlife. Although the final Policy was not at all bad, and did at least reintroduce incentives for landowners to invest in and conserve their wildlife resources, the final version of the draft Act was genuinely dreadful and did nothing to address the conservation crisis that Kenya faces.

But now here's a contradiction. The mainstream conservation NGOs, the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Conversation International and their ilk, all support consumptive utilisation of wildlife everywhere throughout Africa – yet in Kenya they raised not one murmour nor one word of protest against the antics of the animal welfare lobby. What is going on here? Read on … Download

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June '07

Wildlife Bill 2007 – Final Draft for Minister

This is the Final Draft of the Wildlife Bill (May 2007) to be presented to the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife in the very near future. My concerns with the Bill are many:

•    The drafting   process is flawed: at the last moment the Ministry sidelined their own appointed team of drafters and gave it to a single IFAW consultant with no practical   knowledge of either wildlife conservation or wildlife management.

•    Accordingly, the Bill simply ignores the spirit of the Draft Wildlife Policy with regard for the need to create incentives for landowners and landusers users to maintain and invest in wildlife on land outside protected areas.

•    The section on conservation easements contravenes Section 3 of the Constitution. Furthermore, any attempt to impose easements on group ranch land, or recently sub-divided group ranches, against the wishes of the landowners could lead to civil strife.

•    "Wildlife tourism" is included into "wildlife user rights" which must be applied for from the ministry and the KWS through layers of regional, district and local committees. This will bury local initiatives, especially community initiatives, under new and completely unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and allow government and KWS to interfere into what has been up to now successful private sector activities.

The Good Lord in His wisdom placed an upper limit to man's intelligence: sadly, He placed no lower limit to man's stupidity. Download

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Wildlife Policy 2007 – Final Draft

This is the end result of all the Seminars and Regional Consultations held across the country over the last few months. On the positive side the Policy does at least recognise to some extent the economic basis for the loss of wildlife in Kenya and the importance of creating incentives for landowners to maintain wildlife on land outside protected areas. However, its great weakness is to try to be all things to all people and reflect every viewpoint put forward during the consultative process. It fails to differentiate clearly between wildlife conservation and management and animal welfare, and thus fails to present a coherent policy to address the fundamental problems of wildlife conservation in Kenya. Download

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Apr '07

DNLP – Natural Resources Briefing Document – v1

I review here the totally disastrous implications of the Draft National Land Policy for conservation in its broadest sense. The key is the weakening of private property rights and the transferability of such rights which will lower the standards of land management and shorten the time horizons of land owners and users from long term sustainable use to short term exploitation. Conservation of all natural resources, of land, of soils, of habitats, of forests, of wildlife, will all suffer. I also comment on the utterly insane proposals to sanction and legalise the invasion of protected areas by "contiguous communities". Download

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Kenya Landowners Association – an Overview of the Draft National Land Policy (DNLP)

The Kenya Landowners Association is an umbrella group representing all important landowning interests in Kenya, both small scale and large scale. They have prepared this overview to warn their members of the dangers inherent in the proposed DNLP". Download

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Feb '07

MAKMAC Policy Memo

This is the formal brief made to the National Land Policy Secretariat on behalf of the Machakos & Makueni Ranchers Association on January 26 th 2007. It is based on a careful reading of the Draft by lawyers knowledgeable in both land and constitutional issues.

The submission clearly exposes three significant shortcomings in the Draft Land Policy. First, a profound ignorance of the history of land issues in Kenya, of the policies towards to these issues adopted by successive Kenyan governments, and of the workings of current land law. Second, by concentrating almost exclusively on minority issues (important though they are) at the expense of the majority it will create greater injustices than those it seeks to redress. Third, by undermining one of the pillars of the Kenyan economy – security of private tenure and the unencumbered transfer of property rights — it will hinder the creation and accumulation of wealth by Kenya citizens, thus exacerbating and perpetuating poverty. Finally, implicit in the Draft Land Policy is the prerequisite for deep and radical amendments to the Constitution – a process already soundly rejected by the citizenry of Kenya. Download

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Jan '07

An Economic Assessment of the Draft National Land Policy

Not much economics, but interesting nonetheless. I discuss first the importance of property rights to the creation and accumulation of wealth in Kenya. Next, I look at the effect of the outright assault on private property rights espoused by the Draft National Land Policy, especially on the unencumbered transfer of such rights. This will at a single stroke remove one of the foundations of economic progress in Kenya, and will create, accentuate and perpetuate both rural and urban poverty – not bad for a new policy!! Finally, I look at the vexed issue of sub-division of property, and argue why it creates wealth and opportunities for investment. Grade A stuff. Download

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EAWLS Conservation Committee Review of Policy Reviews

One of the hats that I wear is chairman of the Conservation Committee of the East African Wildlife Society, and here we review the three policy reviews currently underway in Kenya, of livestock policy, land policy and wildlife policy: from the viewpoint of their potential impact on habitat and wildlife conservation. Curiously, it is the Land Policy review which poses the greatest threat to long term conservation of any sort in Kenya, and I assure you that the new Draft Land Policy is worse even than I make it out to be. Lots of interesting stuff. Download

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The Draft National Land Policy

This, my friends, is the ultimate in mind boggling nonsense – and would be a joke were it not so serious to the wealth and well being of millions of Kenyans. Motivated primarily by issues of minority land rights and a wish to redress real or perceived injustices dating from the colonial era, this proposed new Land Policy launches an outright assault on private property rights, on the security of such property rights and on the free and unencumbered transfer of such property rights, without offering any sensible alternatives. Remember – you can do many things with a broken egg, make an omelette, or a Bechemel sauce, or use the albumin to mount microscope slides: but what you absolutely cannot do is put the egg back together again. So why try? Fasten your seat belts, suspend belief, and read on ... Download

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Kenya's Conservation Crisis Set to Continue?

YES – if those wretched IFAW people are successful in subverting the entire Wildlife Policy Review Process with their rent-a-mob crowds and misleading briefings to the President. I return here to the essentially economic basis for the catastrophic loss of wildlife in Kenya, and to IFAWs role in trying to prevent one of the few remedial actions that has a chance to redress the situation, namely to reintroduce consumptive utilisation. IFAWs has every right to its opinions, but they should not use their financial muscle to subvert the representative democratic process in Kenya and usurp the powers of the elected Parliamentarians. Furthermore, IFAWs only objective is to stop consumptive use: they offer no alternatives and clearly do not mind if all wildlife outside the protected areas is consequently lost from Kenya. I challenge them here to put their money where their mouth is. Very chilli hot. Download

Dec '06
The Structured Assessment of Wildlife Policy in Kenya

The proceedings of the Wildlife Policy Review, through its national and regional seminars and meetings, have at times been unedifying and have usually descended to an endlessly sterile debate about the pros and cons of reintroducing consumptive utilisation of wildlife into Kenya, especially sport hunting. This little piece tries to bring some structure into the debate. Using disease as a metaphor, it presents the symptoms (the catastrophic loss of wildlife), a diagnosis (under current policy, wildlife are a liability to landowners) and a prescriptive cure (use economic incentives to transform wildlife from a liability to an asset). The cure recognises the requirement for three "policy bundles": an economic bundle to improve wildlife generated revenues to landowners, a property rights bundle to settle issues of ownership and user rights to wildlife, and an institutional bundle to create the enabling environment for private sector conservation to flourish. Read on—its quite good. Download

Nov '06
The Economics of Human Wildlife Conflicts

As part of the Wildlife Policy Review Process, the Strathmore Business School hosted a three day conference on "Conservation, Wildlife and Markets", 9-11 November 2006. I was asked to present a paper on the economics of Human/Wildlife Conflicts (HWC), a subject about which I know very little indeed. Nonetheless, it was interesting how economic data did offer insights into HWC, especially into what I classify as "acute" conflicts – the loss of life and property – and "chronic" conflicts – the pernicious loss of wildlife across Kenya's rangelands. The policy prescriptions for each are quite different, and are deeply tied into defining property and user rights to wildlife. Stimulating (but a bit dull). Download

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Sept '06
1st National Seminar to Review Wildlife Policy – Submission to the Steering Committee

The first national seminar to review Wildlife Policy was held in Nairobi on 27-28 September 2006. These submissions deal with the loss of wildlife in Kenya, and with the misguided opinions from an IFAW sponsored participant who claimed that were hunting to be reintroduced into Kenya it would lead inevitably to "canned hunting" and to a tourism boycott. Phooey!!!!!!!!! & shows the weakness of the IFAW case. Download

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The Survival of Wildlife on Kenya's Rangelands: an economic perspective (but without the economics)

This is my main presentation to the Steering Committee at the 1 st National Seminar to Review Wildlife Policy. It stresses that the catastrophic loss of wildlife across Kenya is primarily an economic phenomenon, for the returns from wildlife to landowners simply cannot compete against those from livestock and cultivation. Furthermore, what few returns there are from wildlife (mainly from tourism) are confined to only 5% of the rangelands on which wildlife are found: there are no returns on the other 95% of the rangelands, only costs. The overriding policy response must be to raise the returns from wildlife, especially in the areas where tourist do not, and never will, venture. Le vrai McCoy – economics 101 at your finger tips. Download

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