International Development Planning Review

Land registration and security of land tenure: Case studies of Kumasi, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa in Ghana

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (4), 475–502.


Land tenure security is an incentive for investing in land-based activities and, therefore, an impetus for economic development. In Ghana and the developing world as a whole, it is argued that land registration guarantees security of land tenure. Thus, registration policies have been rigorously pursued, supposedly to secure land rights. Using four case studies in Ghana, this paper investigates the extent to which land registration is the answer to insecurity of land tenure. The evidence from Ghana, which is corroborated by studies elsewhere, is that land registration per se seems incapable of guaranteeing land tenure security and, in fact, it can reduce security in some circumstances. The paper goes on to identify the real causes of insecurity. Land registration creates a landownership database, which is very important as it serves various purposes; for example, it reduces transaction costs and facilitates real estate transactions. However, securing land tenure for investment requires the causes of disputes to be identified and addressed, and the disputes themselves to be resolved, rather than land registration. Thus, the parameters of tenure security are defined.

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Author details

Abdulai, Raymond T.

Ndekugri, Issaka E.

Olomolaiye, Paul O.

Proverbs, David G.