|1. Project Data:
ICR Review Date Posted:
|Land Administration Project
Project Costs(US $M)
Loan/Credit (US $M)
Cofinancing (US $M)
|CIDA, DFID, GTZ, KfW, NDF
Board Approval Date
|Central government administration (40%), Sub-national government administration (33%), General agriculture fishing and forestry sector (18%), Tertiary education (7%), Law and justice (2%)|
|Land administration and management (29% - P)
Personal and property rights (29% - P)
Other accountability/anti-corruption (14% - S)
Decentralization (14% - S)
Administrative and civil service reform (14% - S)|
||ICR Review Coordinator:
|John R. Heath
||Robert Mark Lacey
|2. Project Objectives and Components:|
The original objective was "to develop a sustainable and well-functioning land administration system that is fair, efficient, cost effective, decentralized, and that enhances land tenure security." (Development Credit Agreement, p. 16).
An identical statement of the objective is contained in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) (p. 3).
The project was formally restructured (with Board approval) on November 7, 2008. The revised project development objective (PDO) was: "to undertake land policy and institutional reforms and key land administration pilots for laying the foundation for a sustainable, decentralized land administration system that is fair, efficient, and cost effective and ensures land tenure security" (Project Paper, October 10, 2008, p. 12).
Despite the slight change to the wording of the PDO, the project’s expected outcomes were the same before and after restructuring and are construed by IEG as:
(a) Tenure security
(b) Efficiency and cost effectiveness
(c) Fairness and transparency
(Decentralization was a means to achieving these outcomes, not an end in itself.)
b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
If yes, did the Board approve the revised objectives/key associated outcome targets?
Date of Board Approval: 11/07/2008
Component 1: Land Policies and Regulatory Framework
(Expected cost at appraisal, US$1.0 million; Actual cost, US$5.0 million)
Includes: Legal and regulatory reforms that would eliminate inconsistencies, repeal obsolete provisions and harmonize customary and statutory laws; measures to reduce backlog of land litigation cases in courts; compensation to owners of land acquired by government; and various studies on land rights and land administration.
Component 2: Institutional Reform and Development
(Expected cost at appraisal, US$25.3 million; Actual cost, US$8.5 million)
Includes: Studies on the management of land administration agencies, leading to proposals for strengthening the operation of these agencies; training of land administration professionals; and strengthening of training and research institutions.
Component 3: Land Titling, Registration, Valuation and Information Systems
(Expected cost at appraisal, US$14.1 million; Actual cost, US$19.3 million)
Includes: Investment in computerized land information system; production of cadastral maps; building and equipping offices; public information campaign; boundary demarcation; title registration; establishment of national land valuation database.
Component 4: Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation
(Expected cost at appraisal, US$6.7 million; Actual cost, US$14.9 million)
Includes: Expenditures needed to ensure adequate financial management, procurement, project management, monitoring and evaluation and communication strategy.
d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
The expected cost of Components 1-4 added up to US$47.7 million; when allowance is made for the project preparation facility and physical and price contingencies, the total project cost, as estimated at appraisal, was US$55.1 million. The actual project cost (US$48.3 million) included US$0.6 million for the preparation facility. The restructurings of November 2008 and December 2010 included the reallocation of credit proceeds between components, mainly consisting in the transfer of resources from Component 2 towards Components 1 and 4.
When the objectives were formally revised on November 7, 2008, US$12.7 million had been disbursed, or 56 percent of the actual credit amount of US$22.8 million. This proportion is taken into account in estimating the outcome rating which, based on the OPCS/IEG Guidelines, is based on a weighted average of performance before and after restructuring.
The project was originally designed as an Adjustable Program Loan but, at the Decision Meeting, Bank management decided to change this to a five-year Specific Investment Loan.
The project was co-financed by IDA (estimated, US$20.5 million; actual, US$22.8 million) and the Canadian International Development Agency (estimated, US$1.0 million; actual, US$1.3 million). Parallel financing was provided by Germany (estimated, US$10.0 million; actual, US$3.8 million), the Nordic Development Fund (estimated, US$6.9 million; actual, US$9.2 million) and the United Kingdom (estimated, US$9.0 million; actual, US$7,4 million).
The Borrower was expected to contribute US$7.6 million; the actual contribution was US$3.8 million, or 50 percent of the appraisal forecast. The Government of Ghana "failed to release counterpart funds regularly and consistently" (ICR, p. 20), resulting in a substantial shortfall that was not made up by credit closing. There was no counterpart funding by communities or ultimate beneficiaries.
On November 7, 2008 the Board approved an extension of the credit closing date from December 31, 2008 to December 31, 2010. On December 23, 2010, a further extension (not Board approved) moved the closing date to June 30, 2011. The reason given for the extensions was "to complete the reforms and pilots supported by the project and enable the government to use the lessons from that experience to develop subsequent phases of the land administration program" (ICR, p. 5).
|3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:|
a. Relevance of Objectives:
The specific objectives of the government's 1999 National Land Policy (amended in 2002) included harmonizing statute and customary laws to enhance security of tenure, involving systematic registration of all interests in land (PAD, p. 6). According to the FY2008-FY2011 Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), which was current when the project closed, "the World Bank will continue to support the establishment of a well-functioning land administration system", noting that "the on-going Land Administration Project improves customary and cadastre-based land administration, as well as women’s access to financial services in the informal sector" (p. 8).
The project’s original objectives were fully in line with government’s and the Bank’s country strategy for Ghana. But neither the Bank’s corporate strategy nor the broader literature on land administration offer definitive guidance on the appropriateness of the project’s objective of simultaneously strengthening customary and individual rights to land. The relevance of the project’s original objectives is rated substantial.
The revised objectives referred to “laying the foundation” rather than “developing” a land administration system. This was a subtle difference, the meaning of which was not spelled out in the project documents. The Board approved the proposed change to the statement of development objectives even though, in IEG’s view, the anticipated outcomes bearing on legal and institutional reform remained unchanged. Therefore, consistent with the rating of the original objectives, the relevance of the revised objectives is also rated substantial.
b. Relevance of Design:
The project statement of development objectives mixed up plausible outcomes (securer land tenure, a more sustainable system of land administration, and more efficient and cost-effective services) with one of the possible means of achieving these outcomes (decentralization), which is not an end in itself. “Fairness” and “transparency” were also part of the statement of objectives but the results chain did not show which outputs and outcomes bore on their realization. The components and activities that supported the tenure security outcome were undermined by a lack of clarity about how the project could “harmonize” customary and statutory laws without tackling the underlying conflict between government and the customary authorities concerning the allocation of rents from land. Also, the component to open new deeds registration offices around the country appeared more likely to enhance tenure security than the component of systematic titling, the demand for which was not tested during project preparation. Given the lack of clarity in the statement of project objectives and the gaps in the results chain, relevance is rated modest.
The 2008 restructuring introduced changes in the mix of activities and, in some cases, scaled back output targets, but the rewording of the statement of project objectives was no clearer than its predecessor, nor was the project results framework strengthened. Expected outcomes did not change. The relevance of design of the restructured project is rated modest.
|4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :|
Given that the expected outcomes did not change significantly with the 2008 restructuring, this section does not separately assess achievements against the original and the revised statement of objectives.
(a) Tenure security
The project opened 8 deed registration offices in regional capitals, reducing the time and money that clients need to spend in registering land. The number of deeds registered outside Accra increased more than twenty-fold between 2005 and 2010, the project’s principal achievement.
In other respects, less progress was made. A key aspect of the legal reforms bearing on tenure security involved preparation and passage of a “substantive” (omnibus) land administration bill. A draft bill was prepared before project closing but the Bank team expressed reservations about its quality and advised against approval.
During project implementation the legitimacy of customary freehold was referred to the Attorney General who ultimately ruled that this form of tenure was legally valid. However, the National House of Chiefs, which is the paramount representative of the customary authorities in Ghana, refused to recognize the government’s ruling, illustrating the degree to which the project was unable to achieve its objective of reconciling customary and statutory law.
The target for establishing and strengthening Customary Land Secretariats was scaled back from 50 to 30 when the project was restructured in 2008. According to project data, by closing, 36 of these agencies had been set up and 30 had been strengthened. Attempts to enhance the role of the Customary Land Secretariats (CLSs) met with mixed results. The CLSs were designed to build on the customary arrangements for land administration, formalizing the demarcation of customary boundaries and the allocation of plots, and making fee collection more transparent. However, these procedures are sources of rent for the chiefs and clan heads so it is perhaps not surprising that the customary rulers are skeptical about entrusting land registration to the CLSs, which have been starved of resources.
At appraisal, the aim was to mark and register the boundaries of 50 customary land areas; by closing only 10 boundaries were marked and none were registered. The pilots made little headway because the chiefs were not briefed sufficiently in advance about the purpose of the exercise, and were, partly for this reason, reluctant to cooperate.
The project led to a modest increase in the number of land title certificates issued, falling short of the appraisal target: the aim was to generate 300,000 land titles (scaled back to 50,000 at restructuring but just 8,000 were issued.
Achievement of the tenure security outcome is rated modest, balancing the significant increase on deed registration against the limited progress on legal reform, strengthening Customary land Secretariats, customary boundary demarcation and land titling.
(b) Efficiency and cost effectiveness
The project design envisaged that efficiency would be enhanced by merging and streamlining the government’s land agencies. Merger was enabled by passage, in 2008, of the Lands Commission Act, which was prepared under the auspices of the project. This merged four of the six agencies, creating the National Lands Commission. The “merged” agencies still operate separate accounts, administration and reporting systems, continuing to operate more or less as they did before the merger. Efficiency gains were limited by poor planning, arbitrary decisions about staff reassignment after the merger, and the failure to train staff to make use of the equipment purchased with project funds. Under the project, 1,819 persons were to be trained; by closing, 1,206 persons had participated in short-term study tours and in-service training.
Increased efficiency also entailed strengthening the infrastructure and equipment of the government’s land agencies. The equipment installed by the project included 3 Continuously Operating Satellite Reference Stations (CORS). CORS may potentially lead to substantial reductions in surveying costs. However, this and other equipment were purchased and distributed to regional offices before needs and training requirements were properly assessed. The annual budgetary allocation from the Government of Ghana is either insufficient or untimely, leading to underuse (or inadequate maintenance) of equipment.
Both project data and the Bank’s annual Doing Business surveys show that the efficiency of land registration increased under the project. The project aimed to increase the speed of land registration. In the case of deeds, the baseline value was more than 36 months, the target was less than one month, and the result at closing was 2.5 months. For titles, the baseline value was more than 36 months, the target was less than six months, and the result was six months. According to Doing Business 2013, the cost of property transfer in Ghana averaged 1 percent of the property value in Ghana (down from 3 percent in 2005), compared to an average of 9.4 percent for Sub-Saharan countries and 4.5 percent for OECD countries. On the other hand, the Doing Business data are based on a single transaction type and do not capture variations between transaction types or differences in performance between rural and urban areas.
A further aspect of efficiency was stepping up the resolution of land related disputes. There are conflicting reports about the size of the land litigation backlog in the courts so it is impossible to assess how effective the project was in clearing it. An output target of cutting the backlog of land litigations from 35,000 was set at appraisal. The size of the backlog was subsequently re-estimated as 7,122. By closing, the Bank reported that 6,300 cases had been cleared, circuit and high courts taken together. According to the Judicial Service, between July 2008 and June 2011, support from the project permitted 8,769 cases to be cleared (circuit and high courts combined). The project also sought to promote the resolution of disputes outside the courts, working through pilots in selected Customary Land Secretariats (CLSs). According to some reports this is helping to decongest the thousands of court cases in the formal system but it is not clear how many cases had been settled through this mechanism.
Achievement of the efficiency and cost effectiveness outcome is rated modest, balancing passage of the legislation on agency merger and evidence of improved speed and lower cost of registration against the evidence that, so far, agency performance has not significantly improved as a result of the merger, and the difficulty of assessing progress on dispute resolution.
(c) Fairness and transparency
The project results framework did not spell out how fairness and transparency could be achieved but it may be inferred that this centered on increasing the number of women with deeds or titles to their land relative to men; and reforming policies on the divestiture of customary lands under state control, and the compensation payable to those whose land had forcibly been acquired by the state. The project sought to achieve a 50 percent increase in the number of titles and deeds registered by women. The baseline was given as 288 titles and deeds issued nationwide. By project close, 14,415 titles and 32,879 deeds had been issued to women. Rather than the absolute number of female or joint titles, more important is the share these represent of all titles issued. The most recent data from the Ministry of Lands show that the number of deeds and titles registered each year increased during the project span; but the gap between those registered to men and those registered to women (or to both partners) did not narrow substantially. Case study evidence also shows no narrowing of the gap.
Under the project, steps were taken to prepare an inventory of state-acquired/occupied lands. The target (first defined at restructuring in 2008) was to cover 50 pilot districts; by closing, the inventory was complete for 10 districts. The inventory study showed that compulsorily acquired lands were much more extensive than anticipated. The same study revealed that the government occupied large tracts of land that had never been formally acquired. Although recommendations about the level of compensation were made, there is no indication that the project helped to clarify the arguments for and against compulsory acquisition and the circumstances in which compulsorily acquired or vested lands should be handed back to the original owners.
Achievement of the fairness and transparency outcome is rated modest, based on the mixed evidence about the increase in registration by women and about compensation and transparency with respect to state lands.
The project results framework is not explicit about the outputs and outcomes bearing on sustainability. IEG infers that a primary consideration is the financial integrity of the institutions supported by the project.
With respect to government land agencies, the available data show a major increase in revenues. When the project was restructured, a target of increasing land transaction revenues by 130 percent was established. In the event, revenues increased more than ten-fold. However, it is hard to interpret these data without information about the costs that central and local governments incur in offering land administration services. Sources differ on the extent to which the land agencies are financially self-sustaining. The Bank team supplied data to IEG showing that, in each of the years from 2005 to 2010, the transactions revenue received by the Lands Commission and its constituent units exceeded the total of capital and recurrent expenditures by Ghana Cedis 5-16 million. On the other hand, a Ghanaian expert panel estimated that the total fees collected by the registry arm of the Lands Commission covered less than 50 percent of the agency’s operating costs, making it impossible for them to set aside the funds needed for capital investment, thereby hampering long-term increase in the efficiency of the land administration system.
A further consideration is the sustainability of the Customary Land Secretariats that the project promoted. After project funding was exhausted, many CLSs had difficulty supporting themselves. While it is true that 40 percent of the revenue collected by the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands is required to be allocated to traditional authorities, none of this funding is specifically earmarked for the Customary Land Secretariats.
Balancing the evidence about increased land agency revenues with the mixed reports on their financial self-sufficiency, and the weak finances of the CLSs, achievement of the sustainability outcome is rated modest.
A 39 percent economic rate of return was estimated at appraisal. This estimate was based on data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey and from plot surveys, using linear regression to analyze the effect of titling on land prices. Land prices were used as a proxy for the economic value of land on the assumption that all titling benefits will eventually be reflected in land price changes. The rate of return was not re-estimated at project completion. Economies of scale were sacrificed when the target was scaled back from 300,000 to 50,000 titles at restructuring—with only 8,000 titles finally delivered. Thus, the actual cost per title under the systematic adjudication sponsored by the project was US$50, compared to the US$35 projected at appraisal. This actual cost was lower than in Tanzania (US$75 per title) but higher than in Thailand and Indonesia (respectively, US$32 and US$24).
In any event, land titling accounted for less than ten percent of actual project costs so these results are not a sound basis for assessing overall efficiency. At completion, the approach taken was based on measures of cost-effectiveness (principally, the reduced cost of registering land) and institutional efficiency (increases in land transaction revenues), areas where improvements met or exceeded appraisal targets, as shown in the previous section of this report. Also, mapping costs were lower under the project than in comparable projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda; and the Continuously Operated Reference Stations installed under the project to facilitate surveying and geo-positioning had lower unit costs than similar stations in several European countries. These are valid measures but they offer a partial assessment of the overall efficiency of resource use, which must take into account the many output targets that were not met.
There are other indications that project resources were not used efficiently. First, there were multiple delays and extensions. Second, the resources committed to the 2008 restructuring did not significantly strengthen project outcomes. Third, each of the six cofinanciers had its own procedures and priorities. DFID withdrew from the project earlier than expected, mainly owing to changes in corporate strategy (the substitution of projects by budget support operations). The German donor, KfW, insisted that the Land Bill be passed before it released funds for the construction of the headquarters building of the new Lands Commission, diverting the energies of the project management unit from other important matters, such as the skill gap and staff capability analysis that was needed to make the merger of the land sector agencies a success. Fourth, there were several instances where equipment purchased by the project was either poorly allocated between the regions, or left lying idle because staff did not have the training to operate it.
a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:
* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated