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Urbanization and changing Land access and rights in Ghana’s largest metropolis, Accra and Kumasi

George Owusu, University of Ghana

While projections by the United Nations predict that most countries in sub-Saharan Africa will be urbanized by 2030, Ghana is projected to achieve this milestone in 2010 with 51 percent of its population urbanized. This paper examines the impact of urbanization on land rights and access in and around Ghana’s largest metropolitan areas of Accra and Kumasi. Based on questionnaire survey and focus group discussions (FGDs), it has been observed that urbanization and growing population pressure in and around these large metropolis is leading to significant changes in land tenure practices and related rights. More significant urbanization is leading to land commodification resulting in individualized and privatized rights as opposed to group or communal rights (usufruct) – a process which many land reforms projects have failed to achieve. The implications of the changing land tenure practices for urban development in Ghana are noted in the study.

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Presented in Session 61: Consequences of rapid urbanization