Rwanda has introduced electronic land titles in order to increase efficiency.
Rwanda’s National Land Authority (NLA) has announced that Rwandans will soon be able to access land titles online, reducing the cost and time needed for this service. The NLA is introducing the electronic certificate of land registration, known as “e-Title”, effective January 6, 2023. This development is expected to eliminate the use of hard copies or physical land title deeds for citizens and various sectors that typically require them.
With e-Title, after an application is approved by the Registrar of Land Titles, the land owner will receive a notification with a link to download and save a digital copy of their land title. This means that the title will be issued immediately after the Registrar’s approval and citizens will not have to wait for days to receive printed titles. The e-Title will also reduce the cost of transportation for printed titles from districts to sector offices.
In addition, with e-Title fully implemented and deployed, the NLA stated that transactions that do not need to be processed by land notaries will be fully online on the government’s online one-stop service portal, Irembo. This progress will allow Rwandans, including those living abroad, to enjoy automated land services and instantly access their land titles through their devices without having to make any visits or involve third parties, who would typically require power of attorney for representation purposes.
The introduction of e-Title is expected to save costs by eliminating the need for printing expenses, paperwork, and the potential for fraud or loss of title that requires replacement at additional charges and with time constraints. Currently, Rwandans pay a flat fee of RWF 30,000 for a land transfer fee, regardless of the value of the plot in question, which covers the printed land title and transfer of ownership. With the e-Title expected to save the RWF 5,000 printing cost, the land transfer fee could potentially be reduced to RWF 25,000. The NLA also noted that the technology will save the government from paying printer leasing fees and the staff involved in printing will be able to speed up land services since the burden of printing will be eliminated.
Between 2009 and 2013, the NLA conducted a nationwide Land Tenure regularization program that included land demarcation and a fully digital land registry. This resulted in the registration of more than 10.4 million parcels and the issuance of 8.8 million land titles to land owners.