Transnational Commercial Land Deals in Ghana

Joseph Yaro, Dzodzi Tsikata, Marshal Kala, Abraham Zackaria

University of Legon, Ghana


There is a growing literature around the recent spate of large-scale, transnational, commercial land deals in Africa and it is now clear that they can have implications much beyond the village and household levels.  Though not a new practice, we hypothesize that the motivations, manifestations and modalities of large-scale commercial land deals in the era of globalization are distinctly different from those seen during the colonial and early post-colonial periods. From a policy and rural development perspective it is therefore important to understand the nature of these deals, and specifically in relation to the actors and the governance models used, and likely impacts on people, economy and environment. The understanding that will emerge from this study will be an important input into policy processes around land and of potential interest to communities, government and donors.

In Ghana we anticipate studying land deals relating to both farming and mining.  Our research approach will be firmly anchored in a political economy approach.  We anticipate that the research will take place in two stages.  The first will gather and review existing research and data and building on earlier work by IIED produce an inventory and basic characterization of large-scale commercial land deals over a 5-10 year period.  The second stage will encompass detailed case studies of a number of selected deals.  We would also propose to look at how land deals such as these are being dealt with in a variety of policy domains.