The Landano project is launching with a pilot project in Ghana, Africa. The Landano mission is to provide economic mobility to marginalized people through better access to land administration systems. Having reliable proof of property rights will provide tenant farmers in rural Ghana with the confidence to invest in their land and improve its yields. It also improves access to financial services like mortgages, loans, and decentralized finance.
Ghana is home to 31 million people. It spans from coastal savannas to tropical rain forests and it is rich in natural resources. Ghana has been one of the more stable and democratic countries in West Africa. It has played a major role in inter-continental trade for many centuries and was the first sub-Saharan country to gain its national independence.
Prior to colonial rule, the land in the area now known as Ghana was governed by customary law and vested in traditional institutions referred to as stools or skins, family and similar kinship groups. The stool represents the spiritual and physical embodiment of the people. It is regarded as an immortal entity.
The legal framework for land administration in Ghana is prescribed in its 1992 Constitution and the 2020 Land Law (Act 1036). These laws legitimize traditional land right holders such as stools, skins, clans, and families. Their customary laws operate alongside formal constitutional law in Ghana's plural legal environment.
Stool lands are estimated to constitute about 80% of land holdings in Ghana. This land is held in trust by the head of the community for the entire members of the community, clan or family in the belief that land is owned by the dead, living and those yet unborn. Within this traditional Ghanaian society, land is a spiritual entity that transcends the material realm.
These practices are in contrast to a bureaucratic framework for land management that includes strictly defined geo-spatial data, legal documentation, and digital technologies. Like most modern nations, Ghana has been improving its land registry and cadastral systems over the recent decades, including a recent push towards digitization and electronic conveyancing.
In the meanwhile, Ghana continues to experience a number of systemic problems around land tenure security, including:
- Fraudulent sale or registration of land parcels
- Failure to formalize and register leaseholds
- Uncertain tenant farmer agreements
- Poorly coordinated land administration systems
The Landano team believes that these issues can be improved by introducing its higher-quality, blockchain-based records management for land administration using sustainable web3 software.
Ghana's 2020 Land Law establishes Customary Land Secretariats for administering stool lands. It requires community leaders to take on fiduciary responsibilities and comply with documentation procedures. Landano can assist community leaders with fullfilling these recordkeeping duties, including management of commission and service fees. It can also help individual land users by facilitating land transactions and providing up-to-date, trustworthy land parcel information that makes it clear what their rights are.
Landano has begun its pilot project work in March 2022 with community outreach in rural Ashanti outside Kumasi. We have made site visits to discuss the needs of local land administrators as well as tenant farmers. We are now working on documenting these user stories to drive our product design decisions.
Like every sovereign nation, Ghana has its own land administration laws and its own unique customs and procedures. Landano is designed to work across jurisdictions and legal traditions by starting with a generic domain model for land administration.
This model helps to structure the documents and data that Landano manages. The fields and labels on its user interface can be customized to be more context-sensitive to a particular country, registry tradition, language, etc.. We are also working on adding geo-spatial unit data to Landano and sharing it as an Open Cadastral Map. We will provide more details on these technical developments in an upcoming post.