The management of urban land in Ghana: the case of Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Areas

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Population trends currently indicate that more than half of Ghana’s population currently lives in urban areas. The pressures of urbanization and fast growing population of the cities have therefore impacted on land management. This study analyzed land management practices in Accra and Kumasi in view of rapid urbanization. The study analyzed issues such as the operation of the land markets in the cities – trend of land use, ownership and land values, sources and process of land acquisition. Customary land ownership in the two cities constitutes about 90%. The value of land in Accra is relatively higher than in Kumasi. Accra has only one recognized customary land secretariat (CLS) whose power is limited to only Gbawe. It was also found that many individuals, families and stools own land in Accra as compared to Kumasi where all the lands belong to Asantehene under the caretaker chiefs. This makes resolution of conflicts on land in Kumasi easier as compared to Accra. Problems associated with land management include inadequate logistics, poor documentation of transactions, fragmented institutions, inadequate cooperation and coordination among the Land Sector Agencies (LSAs), perceived corruption of some officers of the LSAs and general indiscipline in the land market. This research was conducted between 2000 and 2011. It was conducted in the LSAs as well as some selected communities in the two cities – Achimota and Gbawe in Accra and Bremang UGC and Atafoa Aboahia in Kumasi. Questionnaires were distributed to 600 land acquirers / users. The land users included house/plot owners, shop owners and institutions (schools). Stratified random sampling method was employed in the selection of land users. Simple random sampling method was then applied to select from each category of the land users. Key informants of the LSAs including the Lands Commission (LC), Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD), Office of Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) and the CLSs in the cities were also interviewed. Efficient land administration in urban areas could promote development of communities and enhance socioeconomic growth. Information on land documents should be computerized and accessible to all the LSAs including the CLSs. Lastly, human resource and logistics should be adequate to make land service delivery efficient and make clients comfortable in their transactions with the LSAs.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning,