Land (property) rights have returned to the development agenda of national governments and international organizations globally. Central to the debates are issues concerning the interaction between customary and state legal systems. With an example from rural Ghana, this thesis looks at the interaction between customary and state-led legal processes of tenure arrangements and its implications for land investments and general welfare of farmers. Critical to this study is the social legitimacy and equity of land access negotiations and tenure arrangements. It shows that contrary to neo-classical propositions on formalization of local land tenure practices, state-led processes of land tenure reform are not always equitable and inclusive; they have sometimes rendered some rural poor people destitute by denying them access to and control of land. This implies that security of tenure and access to land are not limited to either state-led legislation or customary practices only but that each one can be complemented by the other. This study argues that sustainable and successful land tenure reform will require a ‘marriage’ between customary and state arrangements of land tenure. It suggests that such reforms should be built on local existing structures such that the new system can be accorded a certain level of legitimacy, enough to reflect the interest and gain acceptance of the local people. ...

B.N.F. White (Benjamin) , M.N. Spoor (Max)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS PhD Theses
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Ampadu, R.A. (2013, July 19). Finding the Middle Ground: Land Tenure Reform and Customary Claims Negotiability in Rural Ghana. ISS PhD Theses. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from