Authors: David Asante Edwin*, University of Helsinki
Topics: Africa, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Dagbon (Northern Ghana), land tenure security, land titles, Tamale
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Development practice over recent years in much of Africa prioritized formalization of land policies for improving tenure security, regulating customary tenure and reducing poverty. Since the colonial era, efforts have been made in Ghana to institute this process through land legislation and committing to ensuring that reforms and regulations were enacted to facilitate a more rational land management system. This rapid social change engendered the emergence of market mechanisms infiltrating traditional concepts of land ownership and administration. In this paper, I discuss the implications of this new organizing concept in land ownership and administration among the people of Dagbon in Northern Ghana, and examines the extent to which land title registration has facilitated transformation of communal lands to private property. A cross-sectional study was conducted with the landowners, developers and officials from the Lands Commission; through interviews. Findings suggest distortions and near anomie in which opportunists and intermediaries have their sway. Development discourse treats the situation as a phase and 'transitional cost' expected to fade away with institutional dynamics. I argue that in the circumstance where the law is seen as pliable, the situation engenders a number of blurred and confusing effects that deepen the sense of ambiguity and sometimes outcomes become contradictory.