Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Malawians with Foreign Citizenship: Land Access Laws

LILONGWE, MALAWI - APRIL 08:  Madonna and Lour...
LILONGWE, MALAWI - APRIL 08: Foreign born celebrity, Madonna legally has the same right to land in Malawi as Malawians that take up citizenship abroad. Her celebrity status though gives her more privileges in land ownership then Malawians. Photo: Madonna and daughter Lourdes tour one of the Raising Malawi initiatives in Malawi (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Malawian law provides for various restrictions on foreign land ownership. Under the law, the following provisions for foreigners  also legally apply to Malawians living abroad that take up foreign citizenship and now have the legal status of "foreigner" in Malawi.  Below is an unabridged version of the the Land Access laws for all non-citizens (both Malawian born and non-Malawian born):

Land Access for Non-Citizens (Malawi)

1. The amount of freehold land in Malawi owned by non-citizens will be frozen and limited to freehold land already registered to non-citizens as of 17th January, 2002. Non-citizens will no longer be allowed to acquire title to any new freehold estate.

2. Non-citizens and foreign companies will be permitted to lease land from the Government or directly from private landowners for investment purposes in accordance with their residential and investment objectives.

3. From the coming into force of this policy, freehold ownership will be a privilege reserved for citizens of Malawi. Foreign investors interested in freehold land for investment purposes will be encouraged to form partnerships and/or joint ventures with Malawians.

4. In accordance with current Malawi immigration laws, non-citizens currently in possession of
freehold estates in Malawi will be encouraged to obtain Malawian citizenship in order to retain
their free ownership. The citizenship right of eligible non-citizens will be protected by law and
will not be politicized or left to individual discretion.

5. Subject to existing transfer laws, non-citizens already in possession of registered freehold
assets of publicly traded corporations shall be permitted to transfer such assets to other noncitizens
only when deemed necessary to preserve the investment value of these companies.

6. With the exception of a few very special types of investments, such as mining, forestry and
some perennial tree crops such as tea (a comprehensive list of eligible investments shall be
prepared), most leasehold terms for industrial and commercial investment purposes throughout
the world generally are for less than 50 years, with renewal clauses allowed. For that purpose,
the standard leasehold term for land leased for investment purposes in Malawi will also be for a
renewable term of 50 years or less.

7. The standard leasehold term for owner occupied residential development will remain 99
years with renewable clauses allowed.

*Definition: Freehold land is land that you completely own independent of government. The opposite of this is non-freehold land where the government is the actual owner and has the right to the land, including reclaiming the land (usually with compensation) if needed.

Source: Malawi Land and Policy Act Dated: January 17, 2002 

Related Article: Land & Citizenship in Malawi

1 comment:

  1. can anyone help me on this issue.
    I want to move to Malawi for business and require land for farming but how do I get it on lease from the government I have checked a lot of websites but can not see anything.
    secondly many of the websites emails are not working so can not communicate with anyone.


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