Located in Western Africa, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Agriculture is a major driver of the economy, accounting for one-third of GDP, alongside gold and cocoa. Approximately 68% of Ghana’s land is used for agriculture and 15% is used as permanent natural pastures.
In 2003, Ghana launched a major land reform project aimed at improving land registration, institutional capacity building, land dispute resolution and the harmonization of statutory and customary systems governing land. Under the country’s mixed system of English common law and customary law, land is governed under overlapping customary and formal land rights regimes. The vast majority of land is held informally under customary tenure, while approximately 20% of land in Ghana is officially owned by the state. In recent years, tensions and conflicts over land have been exacerbated by the expansion of mining and bio fuel cultivation. While women have legal rights to own and inherit property, in practice under customary law their rights are greatly restricted and they themselves do not own land.
Main issues: tensions between customary and formal land rights regimes; pastoralists’ rights; women’s land rights; legal protections associated with compulsory land acquisitions; insecurity of rural people’s land rights.