International Development Planning Review

Land valorisation processes and state intervention in land management in peri-urban Accra, Ghana

International Development Planning Review (2003), 25, (4), 355–371.

Abstract

There is a continuous debate as to whether indigenous land tenure systems in sub-Saharan Africa can support market-based decisions. Whether or not this is the case is crucial to the quest for appropriate institutional frameworks to harness the potential of the real estate sector. This paper, using evidence from Accra, Ghana, argues that well-defined markets in land exist where property rights are traded within the indigenous system of land ownership. Furthermore, such markets perform better in terms of land delivery and pricing than the market for state-owned lands, and are responsive to the land needs of all segments of the population. The paper further argues that state intervention, which is intended to redefine property rights within a dual ownership-regulation framework and set unattainable standards for land use planning and development, distorts the indigenous market. This makes actors operate in an extra-legal context. Recommended policy reforms include a redefinition of formal property rights to effectively incorporate indigenous rights and the lowering of planning and building standards.

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Author details

Larbi, Wordsworth Odame

Antwi, Adarkwah

Olomolaiye, Paul