Formal and Informal Land Institutions, Land Information Deficiencies, and the Development of Urban Land Markets in Ghana

by Benjamin Armah Quaye

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Ghana; Formal Land Institutions; Informal Land Institutions; Land Information deficiencies; Urban Land Market; Accra; Kumasi; customary land
Record ID: 1299143
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4903


This thesis investigates how differences in social structures and their associated processes influence the operation and outcomes of local land registration systems in Ghana. In order to address the land information deficiencies, the thesis argues that a clear understanding is required of the institutional arrangement of the interrelationships between the implicit informal institutions that underlie land tenure arrangements and explicit formal institutions. The informal institutions, which are usually unwritten, refer to the social norms, customs, or cultures, which influence social relations. The thesis adopts and extends an analytical framework that incorporates elements of the concept of social capital in order to identify relevant linkages to the social context of a jurisdiction. The primary thesis contribution centres on an empirical comparison of two different socio-political organisational structures and processes in Ghana, namely the cities of Accra and Kumasi, which respectively are non-centralised and centralised in their customary land tenure arrangements. An ethnographic research approach utilising multiple methods of data collection and sources of evidence is used to examine historical and contemporary socio-cultural factors relative to their impact on the prevailing land tenure systems in these two cities. The result of the investigation shows that complex elements within their social contexts influence institutional and urban land market outcomes. The context-specific elements include the nature of the socio-political organisational structures, the nature of the interactions between formal and informal institutions, the level of tenure security, and the nature of implementation of the respective legal frameworks. An important implication of the thesis is that although urban contexts exhibit conditions that require formalisation of land rights, there is a need for differentiated strategies that respond appropriately to the conditions of the social context. This suggests that in order to address land information deficiencies, the introduction and improvement of land registration systems must implicitly and explicitly consider context-specific factors if they are to achieve land development and information management objectives.