Land Based Investment: The Impact on Women and Socially Excluded Groups in Ghana

Large scale land acquisition for investment is stirring up debate globally about their sociopolitical, cultural, economic, and ecological implications on host communities and smallholders. This phenomenon is on the ascendancy in Ghana and there have been some concerns about the impact of the land acquisitions and investments on local communities. The nature of Ghana’s land governance arrangements makes Traditional authorities responsible for managing land acquisitions, including large scale acquisitions for investments. However, experiences from some land transactions for investments in Ghana, show that Traditional Authorities in some cases, may have limited capacity and information to adequately negotiate these levels of land deals in a way that responds to the needs and interests of the communities and existing land rights holders. Local communities tend to suffer negatively from this situation, particularly those with insecure landholdings such as women and settler farmers.

In a bid to mitigate the negative impacts from large scale acquisition for investments, the Lands Commission has drafted guidelines for Large Scale Land Acquisition to regulate land acquisitions for commercial investments in Ghana. This initiative by the Lands Commission has been complemented with other initiatives such as the “Responsible Investment in Property and Land” (RIPL) project, funded by DFID UK and aimed at expanding the scope of roles and responsibilities of all actors in investments to achieve socially responsible investments. As part of the implementation of the RIPL project, COLANDEF and Landesa undertook field research on the impact of large scale land acquisition on small scale farmers and communities in general. The findings of this research were used to develop a set of guidelines for the public sector, private sector and community level actors in land-based investments.

Engagements during the RIPL project implementation revealed that, since there are different types of interests in land in Ghana and especially at the customary level, there are potentially, different types of impacts from large scale land acquisitions also and therefore the need to have dis-aggregated mitigation measures. This observation informed the design of COLANDEF’s project, “Achieving Socially Responsible Land Based Investments in Ghana: Putting Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) at the Centre of National Interventions” which is funded by STAR-Ghana.

This report booklet outlines the purpose of the GESI project and presents the results of the investigation into the impact of large scale land acquisition from a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) perspective.