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Land Title Reforms in Ghana
Charles K.D. Adjasi, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Stanislaus Adiaba Lands Commission, Ghana
Saleema Razvi Copenhagen Consensus
Brad Wong Copenhagen Consensus Centre
Land in Ghana
• Land plays a crucial role in economic development and poverty
• However, access to land for economic development is a challenge in
Ghana due to the absence of titling and proper documentation.
• Land in Ghana split between customary land (close to 80% of land in
Ghana, stool/skin clan/family) and public land (20% held by state).
• Majority of land (Customary Land) is largely undocumented and
unregistered formally. This has adverse consequences for economic
• A host of reforms have been implement, the most recent have been:
• Land Administration Project (LAP I - 1999-2001)
- decentralizing deeds registry, establishment of customary land secretariats
(CLSs), codifying customary land rights, establishment of land courts in Greater
Accra & structuring of the administration
• LAP II 2011
- LAP II increased progress of LAP I & enhanced the policy, legal and regulatory
framework for land administration
• However LAP II was not aimed at all parcels of land and challenges of
un-documentation and access still remain significant.
• Survey & digitization of majority of land parcels, & update of national base
map. This would increase the land in Ghana under title from an estimated
10% to 85%.
• Intervention is via 6 segments
- Updating and modernizing the national base map.
• The base map, a system of record of land maps, was last conducted in 1974
- Rehabilitating the Continously Operating Referencing Station (CORS) network.
• The CORS is a system of monuments that is required for surveying and about 200 of these need to
be established across Ghana.
- Mapping, survey and demarcation of customary land ownership.
170,657 square kilometers of land representing the parcel of customary lands in Ghana
- Digitization of documents, and automation of the registration process.
- Legal and arbitration framework.
It would cost GHS 1658m to reform customary lands &
modernize land system
Costs = GHS 1658 million
• Parameter costs are in line with
assumptions from Lands Commission
- The cost of legal framework and digitization
is based on a scaled up conversion of the
cost in LAP II.
- The nationwide sensitization is assumed to
cost 5GHS per person via mass media
- The survey cost is estimated based on km
per boundary of customary land areas of
84,860 km of customary land to be
surveyed at a unit cost of GHS 12,500 per
km for a total cost of GHS 1061 million.
Base map 100
Continuously Operating Referencing Station
(CORS) network 100
Survey costs 1061
Legal framework 52
Total Cost 1658
Intervention would increase land value by 25%
• Benefits= GHS 344,492 million
• Benefits associated with land
titling including increasing access
to credit, investment certainty
and smoothing land transactions.
- The computed benefit is based on
average land values estimates at just
under GHS 33,000 per acre.
Boost to land value from titling 25%
Value of land GHS per acre (GHS) 32,673
Value per sq km (GHS, million) 8.07
Total Benefits (GHS millions) 344,492
Total costs, total benefits and cost-benefit ratio
Benefits 258,369 172,246 86,123 34,449 3,445
Costs 1,419 1,181 942 799 713
BCR 182 146 91 43 5
• Uncertainties around the success of such reforms account for the
wide BCR range [5 to 200].
Note: All costs and benefits in GHS millions. Costs and benefits reported in this table
represent weighted values of success and failure scenarios, where benefits = GHS 344,492
million if successful and = GHS 0 if not, while costs = GHS 1,658 million if successful and GHS
= 703 million if not.