villagers meet

Ghana’s economy has grown by an average of five percent a year since 1990, enabling it to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger, and to reduce the prevalence of undernourishment from 34 percent of the population in 2000 to just 5 percent in 2012.  Growth has been powered in part by natural resources: the country is one of the world’s top-ten gold producers and as of 2010 is also a commercial producer of oil. 

Yet, poverty remains a problem, especially in the North where poverty rates are two to three times the national average and chronic food insecurity is a critical challenge.  Smallholder farmers in Ghana’s poor rural areas have little access to the assets—including secure rights to land—that they need to move from subsistence farming to more productive, income-generating agriculture.


Read more about Ghana

Almost 70 percent of Ghana’s land is used for agriculture, and 15 percent for natural pastures.  But increased demand for land brought about by commercial development, mining, and biofuel production is leading to relocations and loss of livelihoods for smallholder farmers and pastoralists.  
About 80 percent of Ghana’s land is legally held under customary tenure, with chiefs and other traditional leaders formally responsible for control over land ownership, land distribution, and land-dispute resolution. Yet, because their customary land rights are undocumented, smallholders have little recourse if their land is claimed or sold off by unscrupulous customary authorities or others.
Protecting the rights of local people requires strengthening statutory law and building the capacity of customary justice systems to manage land issues in rural and urban areas. 
In urban areas, 70 percent of the population lives in informal settlements, with insecure tenure on poor quality land.  Land management institutions—challenged by overlapping and uncoordinated authority— largely fail to address such issues.  The land market lacks accessible information and data, and property registration in Ghana is a complex and expensive process.  
The government of Ghana, backed by global partners, has undertaken intensive reform of land administration.  It is re-examining and revising the statutory land governance framework; documenting customary rules governing land; mapping customary land; and strengthening formal and traditional land administration.

Ghana infographic

Total population 24,965,816
Rural population / rural poverty rate 12,016,446/39.2%
Share of women in agriculture 53.2%
Urban population / urban poverty rate 12,949,369/10.8%
Internally displaced People N/A
Total land area / Agricultural land as % of total 227,540/69.8%
Protected areas (as % of total land) 14.6%
Forested land (as % of total) 21.2%
Annual deforestation rate 1.68%
Land rights and access rating N/A
Time required to register property (days) N/A
Women's ownership rights 0.7%
Large-scale land holdings 259,900
GDP per capita (current USD) 1,570
Agriculture as % of GDP 25.5%
Natural resource income as % of GDP 14.3%
Major natural resources Gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone
Tourism as share of GDP 2.7%