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Title:How and why chiefs formalise land use in recent times: the politics of land dispossession through biofuels investments in Ghana
Author:Boamah, FestusISNI
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy (ISSN 0305-6244)
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:land tenure
land acquisition
traditional rulers
Abstract:In the current land deals debate, land dispossession is often attributed to exploitative acts of agricultural investors. However, the role of equally active actors in the making of land deals such as chiefs, who customarily are custodians of land, does not feature prominently in the debate. The paper shows that the recent surge in large-scale land deals in Ghana corresponds with chiefs' pre-existing motivation to re-establish authority over land for two reasons: firstly, to formalise the use of 'stool land' to create rural development opportunities; secondly, to formalise boundaries of 'tool land' to avert potential future land litigations. Social groups lacking recognition from chiefs therefore often lose land, whereas land areas of those persons recognised by chiefs are protected, sometimes even regardless of their 'citizenship' identity in project villages. The author argues that an understanding of how local social institutions and politics mediate investment in land will enrich analyses of processes of land dispossession. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]