Prognosis of Land Title Formalization in Urban Ghana: The Myth and Reality of Awareness and Relevance

by Kwasi Gyau Baffour Awuah and Felix Nokoi Hammond

Abstract

While land title formalization is still useful in sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana like many other countries in the sub-region, continues to experience low rate of compliance with the legal title formalization requirement. This is in spite of over a century and half duration of its practices. Administrative inertia, complex title formalization procedures, and the high cost of formalization are usually adduced for this low compliance rate. That notwithstanding, it is suggested that lack of awareness of the legal title formalization requirement and poor perception of relevance for formalization are additional major determinants. Yet the relationship between these factors and compliance with the requirement still begs empirical examination. This study examines the link between awareness of the requirement and relevance for formalization on one hand, and compliance with the requirement on the other. The primary aim is to establish the extent to which these independent variables determine compliance with the title formalization requirement. Data was collected from residential property owners in Kwabenya, a suburb of Accra, Ghana. The study established that awareness of the requirement and relevance for title formalization are not strong predictors of compliance with the requirement. It also found that low compliance with the requirement stems from the fact that the current title formalization system favors the highly educated formal sector employees who can manipulate the system. As such, it is recommended that the on-going Land Administration Project should seek to review the system to make it effective and efficient, and ultimately receptive to all and sundry.

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Kwasi Gyau Baffour Awuah is a Lands Officer at Ghana’s Lands Commission and s recently completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton UK. He is a professional member of Ghana Institution of Surveyors, Federation of International Surveyors, and Ghana Association of Certified Mediators and Arbitrators and is a member of both African and American Real Estate Societies.

Felix Nokoi Hammond is a reader in real estate economics and finance at the School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton and has over eighteen years of experience in international land and real estate projects, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a PhD from University of Wolverhampton and is a professional member of Ghana Institution of Surveyors.

 

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