Namibia introduces bill to ban foreign ownership of land


FILE image of Namibian Dollars

GABORONE – The Namibian government has tabled a new land ownership bill that seeks to bar foreigners from owning agricultural, commercial and communal lands.

The Land Bill of 2016, tabled in Parliament by lands minister Utoni Nujoma on Friday, proposed a raft of amendments to the Agricultural Commercial Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.

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Nujoma said if passed without amendment, the bill would complement the expropriation laws gazetted by his ministry on 1 September, 2016 to compliment the willing-buyer, willing-seller clause which requires farmers to offer their land to government before considering other potential buyers.

“It is envisaged that the process of expropriation would respond to the legal loopholes that were applied by some to circumvent the provisions of the Land Act, particularly Section 17, which vests in the state the preferential right to buy land,” Nujoma said.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, 141 of the 281 foreigners who own prime land in Namibia are Germans. However, the bill does not propose to prevent foreigners from owning land in urban areas.