Tax & Accounting Blog

OpenTitle interactive lunch: providing land rights documentation and management in Liberia, Ghana and Bolivia

Aumentum, Blog April 10, 2013

By John Russell
Corporate Affairs Manager
Thomson Reuters


There was standing room only for the first in a series of two Thomson Reuters interactive lunches being held at this week’s World Bank Land & Poverty Conference. Nigel Edmead introduced OpenTitle, a product designed to conduct rapid land registration, and to issue documents attesting to land rights.

According to UN-Habitat as much as 70% of land around the world is not recorded in a formal land registration system, and tenure on the remaining 30% is not always secure. OpenTitle is fundamentally about empowering communities to capture land registration information via low-cost, affordable tools. Furthermore, once collected, this information can have many uses above and beyond just protecting and securing land rights – for instance, in census collection or building projects.

Nigel outlined the features and capacities of OpenTitle by demonstrating its successes within three nations – Liberia, Ghana and Bolivia – with three very different local land frameworks. We learned how:

– OpenTitle is being used to digitize deeds and other paper records of land ownership in Liberia. This feature can enable conflict and post-conflict societies to provide tenure security where property records might otherwise have been destroyed.

– Thomson Reuters has partnered with the Sinapi Aba Trust, a microfinance institution working in Ghana, to use OpenTitle to issue property folio certificates to provide land tenure and security.

– Thomson Reuters is partnering with Mercy Corps and the Fundaciόn Tierra to produce property inventories in indigenous regions of Bolivia. The project, which uses OpenTitle software, illustrates that the private and non-profit sectors can work together to document the property rights of marginalized communities.

As these examples merely scratch the surface of OpenTitle’s features, today at noon Nigel will be leading a hands-on session with the opportunity to try out the product and view its capacity to cover all stages of the gathering, processing and generating of documentation regarding land rights.

Hope to see you there!