Direito do Uso e Aproveitamento da Terra (DUAT)

There is no private ownership of land in Mozambique. Land and its associated resources are the property of the State. The Land Law, however, grants private persons the right to use and benefit from the land known as Direito do Uso e Aproveitamento da Terra (DUAT). Although the land itself cannot be sold, mortgaged or alienated in any way, buildings, infrastructure and improvements built on land may be mortgaged and sold.

Foreign entities may be holders of a DUAT by way of an application to the Geographic and Cadastral Services if:

  • an investment project, duly approved by the Investment Promotion Centre of Mozambique (Centro de Promoção de Investimentos) has been granted; and
  • any corporate applicant is to be established or registered in Mozambique; or
  • any natural person applying has been resident in Mozambique for at least five years.

The process of acquiring the DUAT by way of an authorisation is twofold:

  • provisional authorisation which is granted for two years for foreign persons and five years for national persons; and
  • final authorisation which, for economic activities, is granted for a maximum period of 50 years and is renewable for the same period.

Transfer of Land Rights

Rights to use land may be transferred by means of the sale of the buildings, improvements and infrastructure erected on the land. Requirements differ depending on whether the land concerned is regarded as an urban tenement (prédio urbano) or rural tenement (prédio rústico). In relation to urban tenements the transfer of the right of ownership of the property implies the automatic transfer of the DUAT. The transfer of a rural tenement is subject to approval by the same entity that approved the DUAT.

Extinguishing of the DUAT

DUAT can be extinguished in the following ways:

  • failure by the holder to comply with the  plan of use without reasonable grounds;
  • nationalisation or expropriation by the State in the public interest, subject to fair compensation;
  • expiry of the time period or the renewed time period; and
  • waiver by the holder of the DUAT.

All non-removable improvements made on the land are forfeited to the State.