Institutt for geografi
GEO Research Seminar

Accumulation by dispossession: The scourge of large-scale land deals in Africa’s urban fringe

We are happy to invite you to the seminar led by Dr. Austin Dziwornu Ablo, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. We will meet physically, but you can follow the presentation via Zoom, too.

Logo and photo of Austin Ablo
Welcome to GEO Research Seminar with Dr. Austin Dziwornu Ablo!
Tsimafei Kazlou


Speaker: Austin Dziwornu Ablo (University of Ghana)
Topic: Accumulation by dispossession: The scourge of large-scale land deals in Africa’s urban fringe.
Time: 3 November 12:15-13:00
Place: Room 744 or ZOOM

The growth and transformation of African cities are driven by multinational developers, businesspeople, urban citizens, and political stakeholders. From ultra-modern shopping centres and gated communities to private cities, urbanisation in Africa has gathered momentum. This paper explores the effects of large-scale land deals for a private city development project in Ghana – the Appolonia City of Light. From the conceptual lens of accumulation by dispossession, the article sheds light on the new forms of urban inequalities that arise from this project. It is argued that the land acquisition for urban development has exacerbated existing inequalities and transformed the socioeconomic, spatial, and institutional context of the community. The project is beneficial to multinational corporations who accumulate through ‘sweet land deals’ legitimised by the state. At the community level, there is centralisation of wealth among local elites who brokered such deals to make economic and political gains. Conversely, livelihoods dependent on the environment suffer dispossession in various forms. First, the loss of farmlands creates livelihood uncertainties. Second, the commodification of communal land disrupts social relations and land tenure arrangements and exacerbates chieftaincy disputes in the community.