'Managing Land for the Common Good? Evidence from a community development project in Agona, Ghana'

eSCI Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Pro-Poor Growth, 2013, 1 (1), pp. 29 - 46
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The common and dominant view that customary land tenure systems in Africa are inefficient because they forbid individuation, are not registered, are insecure, discourage access to credit, and provide incentive for free rider problems is examined through a case study of one community in Ghana, West Africa. A ninety-day field study in the case study area explored the extent to which the land tenure system has supported a community-based housing project and how that, in turn, has shaped or constrained infrastructural and socio-economic and political development. The paper reveals that communal ownership in the case study area deviates from the orthodox description of land tenure systems in Africa and escapes the problems associated with the so-called `tragedy of the commons. Abuse by both the corporation and corporators is possible and probable, but not because of custom. Growing processes of modernisation, commodification, and secularisation will undermine this system
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