Monrovia — Liberia has passed a landmark law that will help communities fight foreign land grabs by giving them ownership of ancestral territory, officials and activists said on Thursday. President George Weah signed the Land Rights Act into law on Wednesday after four years of debate in the legislature. The topic has been contentious since most of the population have no formal rights to their land, and the state has signed away more than 40% of national territory in concessions for logging, mining and agriculture, according to rights groups. "This is a landmark victory not only for the government, but for the entire citizenry of our country," said James Otto, a campaigner at Liberia’s Sustainable Development Institute. "For the first time in our history, a law is finally saying that communities that have lived on their land forever and ever are now owners of that land," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation Following the West African nation’s second civil war, which ended in 2003,...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now