The Review of Black Political Economy

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 119–143 | Cite as

Urban Land Policies in Ghana: A Case of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

  • Franklin Obeng-OdoomEmail author


The paper examines evidence on the reasons for inefficient land management in Ghana. It argues that the perceived custodians of land have consistently acted in their individual interest while successfully using a discourse of ‘communal’ to secure the backing of the colonial and post colonial state. Overall, the state has substantially promoted the interest of private capital. In turn, the ‘public good’ outcomes the current land policies ostensibly seek to achieve have only been modestly achieved. Instead, land policies have had perverse implications for weaker groups such as women and impacted cities negatively.


Land Political economy Tradition Ghana Cities 



I benefitted from feedback from and discussion with two political economists, Prof. Emeritus F.J.B Stilwell and Dr. Don Munro, and a former cocoa merchant in Ghana, Charles Appiah. Also, I obtained valuable feedback from the referees for RBPE. Any disparity between the intentions of these people and realisation in this paper is solely my responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of the Built EnvironmentUniversity of Technology, SydneySydneyAustralia

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