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Development Geography
Master Project

Land governance in Ghana’s emerging oil city

In my master project I study land governance and competition for space in Ghana’s emerging oil city, Sekondi-Takoradi.

Master student Ernestina Ohenwaah Denchie.
Master student Ernestina Ohenwaah Denchie.

Sekondi-Takoradi is the third urban city of Ghana, and the proximate city to Ghana’s Jubilee field of oil. Owing to the potential economic growth in relation to the oil activities, the Sekondi-Takoradi city is experiencing a massive influx of labor migrants and investors, both local and foreign, leading to a high demand for land for business activities and housing in the metropolis.

However, the increasing value of land that this phenomenon has brought present challenges such as competition for space to accommodate the influx of people seeking land for offices, shops, billboards, warehouses and housing in the metropolis leading to potential as well as actual conflicts over land rights in the metropolis. However, land governance in Ghana is characterized by mismanagement and uncertainties due to the involvement of the state and traditional rulers in land administration and lease.

Using the political ecology framework, this research seeks to examine the institutional capacity in resolving conflicts that may result from the competition for space in the expanding oil city. It also seeks to examine the evolving land-related conflicts, differing opinions of interest groups about access, user rights and ownership of land and to examine why particular social groups and individuals become winners and losers in the land claims and competition for space.

 

Field Work

I had a very interesting experience of field research during my fieldwork in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. Interviews and interactions with my informants broadened my understanding of issues related to my research and the context of land management and governance. I came to understand power relations in practice as I observe, interview and listen to court hearings and verdicts of land cases. The tele-guidance of my supervisor Ragnhild Overå during my fieldwork, made this possible.

 

Study Geography in Bergen

Choice making is the most challenging dilemma when one is presented with multiple options. But my choice of studying Geography at the University of Bergen has never been a cause for regret but something I rejoice over. Learning under great lecturers with practical insight and enabling environment for learning has given me a new perspective of academic thinking. It has made me more independent and responsible for my research and has helped me question every little detail I write with a great measure of introspection.

To all prospective students, I say: ”For an enabling atmosphere for studying Geography and an institution that brings the best in you: choose University of Bergen, and you will never regret”.

 

Supervisor

Ragnhild Overå