Indigenous Landholding Institutions as an Impediment to Economic Use of Land: Case Studies of Tamale and Bolgatanga in Ghana

Part of the Research Issues in Real Estate book series (RIRE, volume 10)


In Ghana, traditionally, the allodial (paramount) interest in land is vested in communities represented by chiefs/kings and/or families/clans referred to as indigenous landholding institutions. The system of landownership has been perceived as communal landholding, which does not permit individual ownership of land rights. It has been argued that such communal ownership does not incentivise individuals to invest in land-based economic activities. Thus, the traditional landownership system is viewed as an obstruction to economic growth. This chapter reports on a study carried out to test the assertion that traditional land tenure does not permit individual ownership. It is based on case studies of the two localities of Tamale and Bolgatanga in Ghana. The study shows that the landownership system is dual with both communal and individual ownership. Therefore it does not appear to constitute an impediment to economic growth as claimed in the literature.


Land Tenure Communal Land Vacant Land Farm Owner Individual Ownership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The empirical data for this study was collected in Ghana with financial support from the Royal Institution of Surveyors (RICS) Education Trust, United Kingdom. We would like to express our appreciation to the Trust for the support.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and the Built EnvironmentWolverhampton UniversityWolverhamptonUK

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