Land law amendment bars foreigners from owning land in Malawi

Ministry of Lands has stressed that foreigners will no longer own land in Malawi as per the amended land law which President Lazarus Chakwera assented to in July this year.

Deputy Minister of Lands, Deus Gumba has intimated that the new law gives ownership of land exclusively to Malawians.

“There has been an outcry that foreigners are taking over our land. The current land law has been amended with an aim of protecting the land from foreign citizens’ ownership,” he said.

“However”, Gumba said, “the law will not apply retrospectively. This means those foreigners who already own land will maintain such ownership until their lease expires, but they cannot transfer ownership to another foreigner”.

The amendment has repealed section 37 of the 2016 Land Laws which permitted foreigners to acquire lease of land in Malawi for 50 years.

The development responds to the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) manifesto promise which appears on page 28 of the party’s 2019 manifesto document.

“Realizing that land is the country’s major productive asset, the MCP commits to … review the Land Act to ensure that access to land benefits Malawians and not foreigners who are acquiring massive tracts of land fraudulently,” reads the MCP manifesto at page 28.

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