Integrating land administration systems in peri-urban customary areas in Ghana

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2018

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University of Cape Town

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Dual land administration systems operate in many peri-urban customary areas in subSaharan Africa (Burns, 2007), yet the rationality behind them is different, and possibly conflicting (Watson, 2003). The conflicting rationalities between the dual systems have created binaries in land administration discourse. Some scholars have promoted statutory land administration systems over customary systems (Hardin, 1968). Many pre-21st century land administration systems theories were purely economy-based, and sought to discredit customary land administration and tenure systems (De Soto, 2000; Peters, 2009). The weaknesses of customary land administration and tenure systems have been widely articulated in economy-based land administration literature (Demsetz,1967). However, recent research findings seem to suggest that peri-urban customary land management could improve through hybrid land administration, incorporating both customary and statutory systems (Whittal, 2014). In this study, statutory and customary land administration systems are examined to understand how they can be integrated to improve effective land delivery at the peri-urban interface in Ghana. A case study analysis of hybrid forms of land administration was undertaken, using both primary and secondary data. Relatively successful case studies (from Ghana and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa) were deliberately chosen to learn good ways of managing peri-urban customary land. Land administration practices in such areas were assessed using the good land governance framework. The case study analysis reveals that hybrid land administration systems are appropriate in enhancing livelihood sustainability and tenure security of the local people. To this end, the study proposes some improvements in hybrid land administration practices to reduce conflicting rationalities between customary and statutory land administration systems.
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