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Title: Land rights, tenure security and sustainable land use in rural Ghana
Author: Asaaga, Festus Atribawuni
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 2018
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The return to the customary or integration of customary and statutory tenure systems to continue gain currency in both contemporary policy and academic discourses on land tenure as an alternative pathway towards enhancing security of access and tenure in the sub-Saharan African context. Central to the debates are issues concerning the relevance of customary land tenure arrangements and appropriate pathways to successfully engineer the process of harmonization toward improved tenure security whilst preserving of the communitarian principles of local tenure systems. Using two case studies in rural Ghana, this study investigated the prevailing land tenure arrangements, practices and socio-political dynamics that underpin them, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed for the successful adaptation of customary tenure rules and institutions into the statutory system towards improved tenure security and sustainable land management. The research employed a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods including interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaires to collate and analyse data from sampled respondents in Kakum and Ankasa in southern Ghana. The results of the investigation revealed that contrary to the mainstream view that customary tenure arrangements are incapable of providing tenure security in the face on ongoing transformations, the perceived tenure security of respondents was generally high in the study areas. This notwithstanding, it was observed that the emerging patterns of access and control (occasioned by increasing land scarcity and commodification) have resulted in social differentiation and inequalities in land access and distribution amongst the poor and vulnerable members of the landholding groups including women and the youth. The research also showed that aside from tenure security, other important contextual factors including access to credit, modernised agricultural inputs and targeted extension service support significantly influence households' investment decisions regarding adoption of sustainable land management practices. These findings have far-reaching implications for current land tenure interventions aimed at harmonising customary and statutory tenure structures for improved tenure security and sustainable land management. Results of the investigation were used to develop a three-phase incremental framework on formalisation of customary land rights which could serve as bespoke framework to guide the design of land tenure intervention strategies and implementation towards addressing local tenure insecurity in the specific context of the study areas and sub-Saharan Africa generally. The major conclusion of the research is that balancing the market efficiency and social equity considerations is necessary and should be pursued under the ongoing land tenure reforms for inclusive and equitable outcomes at the local level. This derives from the fact that the existing tenurial challenges are complex and context-specific, equally requiring well-balanced and nuanced solutions to effectively address them.
Supervisor: Hirons, Mark ; Malhi, Yadvinder Sponsor: Ghana Education Trust Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Land rights ; Land tenure ; Sustainable Land Management ; Ghana ; Sustainable Land Use