Tanzania Journal of Development Studies

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Formalisation of Unplanned Settlements and Its Implications on Poverty Reduction: The Case of Dar es Salaam City

AG Kyessi


With about 3 million, Dar es Salaam City—the largest and primary urban centre in Tanzania—has approximately two-thirds of its residents living in informal settlements. About 80% of its residential housing is found in informal settlements that are not formally registered. Properties found in these areas are sound or improvable. Regularisation, which includes formalising informal settlements, can lead to the provision of security of land tenure by issuing residential licenses or certificate of right of occupancy to land and property owners, and also the provision of basic municipal services.
This paper discusses the process of formalisation of property rights taking place in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, and their impacts to the urban poor in those settlements. Findings from recent research in Dar es Salaam show that owners of the regularised properties are using their licenses or certificates to access credit for improving their houses or establishing small business. Although there are several challenges, the paper argues that the experiences in Dar es Salaam may assist in the scaling-up of the regularisation process in other unplanned settlements in most urban centres in Tanzania so as to achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals - Goal 7 Target 11.

Key words: regularisation, formalisation, land tenure, property rights, unplanned/informal settlements, poverty reduction, Dar es Salaam
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