Tag Archives: World Bank

Ethiopia Affordable Urban Land and Housing Project

Geoff is now back in Addis Ababa working as the lead land adviser on the ICF International project for the World Bank. He has been undertaking a review of the extensive literature on urban land policy and practice as a basis for identifying options for consideration by central and local  government.

Geoff’s visit in January 2018 to Amaravati, the new capital city of Andra Pradesh, India

Geoff was commissioned by the World Bank to review the plans and land policy instruments being applied for the development of the new state capital after the bifurcation of the state in 2014. Land for the new capital is being acquired by three policy instruments, namely land pooling, negotiated settlements and formal land acquisition. The land pooling scheme is possibly the largest in the world and is the subject of local debate. Geoff’s role is to assess the way the policies are being implemented to ensure that no groups are disadvantaged.

Ethiopia Urban Land Supply and Affordable Housing Study

In late 2016, Geoff was invited by ICF Consultants to join their proposal to undertake a major review of urban land supply and affordable housing in Ethiopia. The proposal was successful and Geoff has been appointed as the lead consultant in the review of urban land production and lease transfer, while Dr. Graham Tipple has been appointed the international lead in reviewing affordable housing.  The project will involve detailed studies in three cities, Addis Ababa, Adama, and Mekelle. Geoff will be working in collaboration with the local land expert Dr. Wondimu Abeje and Graham will be working together with Dr. Elias Yitbarek. The project will include a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods including extensive household surveys, semi-structured in-depth case studies, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a review of the extensive literature on the subject.

Enjoying a coffee with Elias and Graham in the country where coffee was discovered

Enjoying a coffee with Elias and Graham in the country where coffee was discovered

The project will be undertaken over an eighteen month period and will include presentations on findings with key stakeholders in Ethiopia and discussions on policy and regulatory options for improving access to affordable, secure and reasonably located land for all those in need and means of strengthening the capability of central, provincial and municipal authorities in urban land management and administration.

Street scene in Mekelle

Street scene in Mekelle (መቐለ)

Local residents in Mekelle

Local residents in Mekelle (መቐለ)

Geoff undertook the first of several missions in March, during which he met key officials in Addis Ababa and Mekelle and visited a range of residential, commercial and industrial developments. A second mission is planned for early May to initiate the key informant interviews.

World Bank Land Policy conference


The 2014 conference was on the theme of ‘Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Agenda and was held in the Washington headquarters. Geoff attended the conference as a delegate and co-author, with David Mason and Mesky Brhane, of a paper presented by David, entitled ‘Land, land everywhere, but not a service to link: Land policy and urban expansion in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’. The paper is based on a Land Administration and Land Markets Study undertaken by a World Bank mission led by Mesky Brhane, of which David, Geoff and Olga Kaganova are team members, with a substantial contribution by Chinzorig Batbileg in Ulaanbaatar. To read the paper, click here.

Scoping mission to Mongolia with the World Bank


Geoff has been invited by the World Bank to contribute to a scoping mission on urban planning and affordable housing in Mongolia. The study focuses on the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, which has experienced rapid population growth in the last decade and has extensive areas of housing developed as informal settlements.

The mission will review previous work on these issues, meet key stakeholders in the public, private and civil society sectors, as well as local residents and identify policy options for local consideration. The first mission took place between 25 May – 9 June and a further mission is planned for late September.

India – land and housing missions


Geoff was invited by the World Bank to act as international adviser to two missions taking place concurrently in India. The first is being led by Ms Bernice van Bronkhorst, with Mr Augustin Maria and is preparing the design of an Informal Settlement Improvement Project.

The World Bank is currently working with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to provide support to participating states and cities to implement city-wide slum upgrading programs. Specific attention is being given to pilot flexible and innovative approaches towards improving tenure security for the residents of informal settlements. The Project could also provide support to participating states and cities to develop strategies to improve urban land delivery systems. Geoff is contributing to the project on both these aspects.

The second mission addressed land issues, and involved a stocktaking of the Bank’s work on land in India, identifying good practices and scoping out the Bank’s future engagement on land. It focused on land issues in urban and slum settings, industrial development and land administration. The mission was led by Maria Correia, Sector Manager, Social Development Unit, South Asia Region and included a number of colleagues from the Bank offices in New Delhi.

During the mission, visits were made to Bengaluru, Chennia and New Delhi, where meetings were held with a wide range of ministry and local government officials and senior representatives from the private and civil society sectors. Visits were also undertaken to different projects to assess the situations at first hand. The missions were conducted between 23-30 June.

World Bank Urban Research Symposium

Geoff Payne has been invited to present a desk review of literature on land titling programmes at the next World Bank Urban Research Symposium to be held in Washington D.C. during 14 -16 May 2007. The desk review is presently being completed and it is hoped to make it available on this website shortly. The desk review represents Stage 1 of an international social and economic impact assessment of land titling programmes carried out in urban or peri-urban areas of developing countries.

Applications to fund case study analyses in six selected countries are presently being considered. Contributions have already been confirmed from UN-Habitat and SIDA in Sweden for which we are extremely grateful. If the remaining funds are forthcoming, we hope to start work on case studies in April and to complete the work in 2007. This will enable us to contribute findings and conclusions to the work of the Commission for Legal Empowerment of the Poor and the Global Land Tools Network early in 2008.

ID21 invites Geoffrey Payne to comment on draft World Development Report

World Bank recommendations favour multinational over local businesses in the developing world

The World Bank’s World Development Report 2005, due to be published this September, makes recommendations that jeopardise the future of small local businesses in favour of large multinationals.

The report argues that the root to capitalist development in Africa, Asia and Latin America lies in formalising property ownership through the distribution of land titles. If everyone owns the title to the land they live on – the argument goes – they will be able to use it as collateral for a business loan, or sell it to finance an enterprise.

Yet urban development consultant Geoffrey Payne argues that Bank’s report ignores a wealth of independent research. “The link between the provision of titles and poverty reduction remains unproven,” says Payne; illustrating his point by explaining how in Munich only 17 percent of the population own their own home, whilst in Jakarta and Delhi homeownership is over 50 percent.

Payne worries that the Bank’s report does more than ignore credible research, he also sees the Bank’s favouring of titling programmes in the developing world as risky. “The risk,” says Payne, “is that formal land titles attract property speculation, raising land prices beyond the means of local businesses and individuals.”

Writing in his commentary for id21 Payne explains how in much of the developing world, the usage, sale and inheritance of land is governed by a variety of forms tenure, from renting through to traditional communal rights. Titling programmes which aim to replace these arrangements with a ‘one size fits all’ Western form of land tenure often undermine local governmental or community attempts to safeguard the poor by imposing restrictions on how land may be sold or used.

“The sub-title to the Bank’s report is ‘Improving the investment climate for everyone,'” comments Payne, “but the titling programmes it favours only improve the climate for big businesses, who buy-up cheap land for development and squeeze-out small local entrepreneurs and residents.”

The alternative, Payne suggests, is to work with existing forms of tenure to strengthen people’s rights to use land in a way that stimulates local businesses and improves welfare – by providing amenities such as electricity and water supplies – rather than making way for a new phase of commercial colonisation and impoverishment.

The World Bank Asian Workshop on Land Issues

The 3 day workshop in June 2002 brought together an outstanding group of policy makers and experts in the land policy field and saw presentations by representatives from most Asian countries, international agencies and academic institutions from around the world. The workshop, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was to discuss land policy issues in Asia with a key note presentation by Professor Michael Lipton of Sussex University. Michael set the tone for the workshop with a paper which advocated increased support for rural areas and agrarian land reform. Most presentations that followed also had a rural focus (despite the fact that Asia has some of worlds largest urban conurbations and increasing levels of urbanisation). Geoffrey Payne responded to the only major paper on urban land issues, which was presented by Michael Kirk of the University of Marburg, Germany. The conference organisers are proposing to set up a network of professionals interested in the subject of land policy in Asia. Watch this space! 

You can check out the programme, topics and case studies of the World Bank Workshop on Land Issues here.

The book, ‘Land Rights and Innovation’ was also launched in Phnom Penh. Yet again all free copies went very quickly. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, and reading the back page blurb, see the GPA book section.