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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Land Administration Project

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Land Administration Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 55.1  48.3
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 20.5  22.8
Sector Board:
Cofinancing (US $M)
 27.0  21.6
Board Approval Date
Closing Date
12/31/2008 06/30/2011
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)
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
John R. Heath
Robert Mark Lacey Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:


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
(d) Sustainability

(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? Yes

Date of Board Approval: 11/07/2008

c. Components:

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

Project Cost
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).

Borrower Contribution
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.

(d) Sustainability

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.

5. Efficiency:

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:

Rate Available?
Point Value
ICR estimate:

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

The project objective was responsive both to government strategy (building on priorities in the 1999 National Land Policy) and to the Bank’s country strategy for Ghana. Although the project objective addressed important constraints, principally the lack of clarity about land rights, there was an implicit tension at the heart of the project concept, centered on competition for rents by the state and the customary authorities. This tension carried over into project design and was not resolved when the project was restructured in 2008. Project design was hampered by the incompleteness of the results framework, entailing a lack of clarity about expected outcomes. The four discrete outcomes were each modestly achieved. With respect to efficiency, the cost-effectiveness data adduced at completion offer at best a partial assessment, insufficient by themselves to offset shortfalls in the delivery of outputs.

Despite the (minor) adjustment to the wording of the development objective, the four outcomes remained unchanged when the project underwent a Board-approved revision in 2008, the rationale for which was not clear. At the time of the Board decision, 56 percent of the actual credit amount had been disbursed. However, applying the split-rating formula makes no difference to the outcome rating because the four underlying outcomes are the same, irrespective of the statement of objectives against which they are measured.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

Although outcomes were less than expected, the more substantial institutional changes may be expected to endure—particularly the National Land Commission and the regional deeds registration offices set up by the project. The increase in land transaction revenues, which substantially exceeded the 130 percent target, increases the scope for the related agencies to be financially self-sustaining, although it is not clear what share of these revenues may be retained by the agencies that generate them. The deeds registration offices created under the project—probably the operations single biggest achievement—are more likely to be financially self-sustaining than the customary land secretariats that were set up, and which are presently in a precarious state. In one important respect, the assessment of outcome sustainability is moot: the project made little contribution to clarifying land rights, because the comprehensive land bill was not passed and there was no discernible progress toward the project’s objective of “harmonizing” statutory and customary authority over land. With respect to the (limited) progress in land titling, it remains to be seen whether those who received titles under the program of systematic adjudication will be willing to pay the fees associated with registration of subsequent land transactions. However, as land values continue to rise, the perceived value of registration is likely to increase proportionately, making it more likely that benefits accruing to project-provided titles will endure.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:

The project concept was a valid response to the lack of clarity about land rights in Ghana, and was consistent with the letter of both government and Bank strategy. But there were significant shortcomings with the objectives and, to a greater degree, the design of the project. Neither the objectives nor the design reckoned sufficiently with the political economy constraints on reforming land administration in Ghana, overestimating the commitment to reform by government and the customary authorities. (There was no relevant Bank analytic work, specific to Ghana, on which the project could build.) The design of the project was too complex for the limited period available for implementation, containing a large number of activities that were diffuse in both thematic and regional focus, and calling for coordination with five other donors that was likely to be difficult to orchestrate. The results framework was not adequately fleshed out and the provision for monitoring and evaluation was insufficient.

When preparation began, the instrument proposed was an Adaptable Program Loan (APL), with reforms phased over 15-20 years. Such an approach would have allowed for sequencing and would have provided sufficient time for the more challenging initiatives (institutional restructuring, legal reform) to be completed. At the Decision Meeting, the Bank opted instead for a Specific Investment Loan. There was no proportional scale back in the menu of activities, with all activities scheduled for completion in five years. Given the weak institutional capacity identified in the Project Appraisal Document, it was unlikely that this long list of tasks could be satisfactorily carried out in the time available. Also, parceling out the responsibility for components among the donors increased the risk that the expected outputs would not be delivered because of differences in delivery capacity and changes in donor priorities.

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:

The project had three Bank task managers. Through a combination of cross support and hiring of international consultants, these managers were able to draw on Bank specialists in land administration, who had worked in other Regions, and distinguished experts on land law (both from within and outside the Bank). The legal experts provided in-depth support on interpretation of Ghanaian land law, pursuing the matter of clarifying the constitutional position on customary freehold with great diligence, and providing sound advice on the format of the substantive Land Bill. Their effectiveness was reduced by inconsistent and untimely support from the national counterpart hired by the project management unit. Before the mid-term review, supervision missions did not sufficiently address the shortfalls in project performance (particularly the weak monitoring and evaluation), and supervision reports lacked substantive detail.

Project restructuring took place too late (two years after it was proposed): not enough time was left in the implementation cycle for it to make a difference to project achievements. The restructuring missed an opportunity to clarify the outcomes expected from the project and to reduce design complexity, opting instead to tinker with outputs. An attempt was made to retrofit targets (for outputs, not outcomes); and some of the output targets that had been specified at appraisal were reduced (the number of land litigations in the courts remaining to be cleared, the number of titles that would be issued under the systematic adjudication component). These changes were not radical enough to make a substantial difference to the project outcome and the Bank shares responsibility with the government for the delay of over two years in implementing them.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:

Although the government took an important step before the project in issuing the 1999 Land Policy, subsequently it did not provide the political drive and management needed to push forward policy and legislative reform. Between 2003 and 2006, counterpart funding fell far short of what was agreed in the project financing plan, raising questions about government commitment. In October 2006 the Bank voiced concern about: the lack of government lead in public discussions about the divestiture of state-appropriated land; compensation payments; land use planning; the priority attached to deed versus title registration; and the transfer of land administration functions from the state to customary authorities and other decentralized agencies. It also recommended that the government take steps to bolster the project management unit, which was understaffed and poorly equipped. Following the mid-term review, the Bank recommended that the project be restructured but this took over two years to achieve, partly because government was slow to send out a formal request to the six donor agencies involved. The Land Policy Steering Committee had little convening power, partly because links to the various ministries were weak. Repeated changes at the Chief Director level of the Ministry of Lands and Forestry led to a loss of continuity. Government performance is rated unsatisfactory. There was a shortfall in counterpart funding: by closing, the government had provided US$3.8 million, or exactly 50 percent of the appraisal forecast. This impeded implementation in districts where funds were scarce.

Government Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:

Government wanted to incorporate project implementation into the regular work of the responsible ministries, rather than creating an independent project management unit. The intention was sound but the execution needed to be stronger. A management unit was set up in the Ministry of Lands and Forestry but it was severely constrained. On the one hand, ministry staff did not own the project, objecting to the added work load. On the other hand, government was slow to recruit the staff that the project management unit needed to operate effectively. The anticipated collaboration with the Ministry’s Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department failed to bear fruit and project monitoring and evaluation suffered as a consequence. The specialist in land law hired by the unit had other jobs to attend to outside the project, helping to explain the lack of a concerted effort to prepare proposals for legal and institutional reform. Project activities spanned several regions of Ghana but the project management unit made few trips to the field and coordination with the regional offices of the land sector agencies was limited. There was little cross-fertilization between the diffuse pilot activities. For example, the pilot on customary boundary demarcation proceeded on a separate track from the initiative to create customary land secretariats, even though both addressed common constraints concerning the willingness of the chiefs to cooperate.

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:

Ultimate responsibility for project monitoring and evaluation was vested in the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department (PPMED) of the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, which was responsible for compiling monitoring reports, based on inputs received from the various agencies to which discrete M&E assignments would be contracted out. Also, it was expected that PPMED would prepare the terms of reference for an impact evaluation and contract universities to implement it. At appraisal, the plan was to strengthen PPMED with additional staff, training and equipment. Translating the project development objective into appropriate performance indicators and targets was inadequate at appraisal: for example, the specification of output targets was incomplete and there were no outcome targets. It was only in 2008, when the project development objective was formally revised, that serious consideration was given to the design of the results framework. When the credit became effective, none of the baseline studies had been completed, and there were no baseline values for the main outcomes.

b. M&E Implementation:

M&E was hampered by the lack of properly trained and suitably qualified staff and the slow start up of monitoring activities. Baseline surveys were incomplete and launched late. The impact evaluation envisaged at appraisal was not carried out. The diffuseness of project activities (and, in particular, the large number of small pilots, scattered across the country) made M&E harder. In the 2006 mid-term review the Bank reported that the project’s M&E team spent most of its time in Accra. The M&E team had not attempted to track the quality of data collected by the regional offices and, during mid-term review field visits, the Bank found that data capture and storage by these offices was poor and management was weak. Information flow between the regions and Accra was haphazard. This deficit had not been rectified when the project closed.

When the project was restructured in 2008, a belated attempt was made to tighten up the results framework. Performance indicators were redefined or dropped, and output targets were re-specified. The main effect was to define the scope of the original activities more precisely, with a view to greater realism about what could be achieved in the short time remaining for implementation. However, in one respect the bar was raised: the outcome target for the project’s legislative initiative was altered to include passage of bills by Parliament, an outcome over which the executive branch, let alone the project team, had little control.

In the 2006 mid-term review the Bank reported that the project management unit was not using the available M&E reports as a means to improve project implementation. The Bank also noted the lack of coordination with the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Department (PPMED) of the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, which was effectively dormant, and the weak links to the heads of the land sector agencies. The initial commitment to embedding project M&E in PPMED (rather than creating a separate project unit) did not bear fruit, suggesting that the project did not lead to a significant long-term strengthening of government’s M&E capacity.

a. M&E Utilization:

According to comments by the implementing agency on the draft ICR, that draft indicated that M&E arrangements "did not provide basis for managerial action, and also did not provide project management with the necessary feedback on issues related to the effectiveness of Land Administration Project strategies and activities pursued in project implementation" (ICR, p. 49). The Bank’s mid-term review concluded that the project management unit was not using the available monitoring reports as a tool to improve project implementation. The design and implementation of the follow-on project was not significantly influenced by the monitoring and evaluation results from the first project.

M&E Quality Rating: Negligible

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:

The project was assigned a Category B environmental rating, because its potential impacts were considered localized, reversible and manageable.

Relevant safeguard policies were Environmental Assessment (OP 4.01) and Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12).
"A Resettlement Policy Framework and an Environmental and Social Management Framework were prepared and disclosed prior to project appraisal" (ICR, p. 10). These policies were triggered by the possibility that the demarcation of customary lands would raise questions about the pattern of land allocation. The ICR reports that the project complied with all triggered safeguards. Disagreements on a couple of boundaries in one region were resolved amicably through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms established as part of project activities.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:

Financial reports and audits were issued on time, and all audits were unqualified. Counterpart funding was erratic: at closing, government's contribution was 36 percent of the projected amount. This impeded implementation in districts where funds were scarce.

Procurement was problematic, owing to the weak performance of the implementing agency. The Borrower's Contribution to the ICR reports that there were "delays in the supply and installation of goods and equipment; setbacks in completing consultancy assignments; prolonged processing of procurement requests; and ineffective contract management for consulting services and goods" (ICR, p. 47). This verdict is not reflected in the body of the ICR, although it does refer to a delay in completing a contract to provide computers and accessories (ICR, p. 11).

No cases of misprocurement or disbursement irregularities are reported in the ICR.

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):

None identified.

d. Other:

12. Ratings:

IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Unsatisfactory
Under both the original and the revised objectives, relevance was substantial but achievement of each of the four outcomes was modest, as also was efficiency. Based on disbursement shares before and after restructuring (see Section 2d and 6 above) the overall outcome rating is unsatisfactory.  
Risk to Development Outcome:
Negligible to Low
The institutional foundations laid by the project are likely to endure and to be financially self-sustaining. But it is possible that the demand to title and to update cadastral information may be limited by the higher than expected cost of these services, a particular concern in poorer, rural areas.  
Bank Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Unsatisfactory
The project design was overambitious. Also, implementation arrangements made when the project was prepared failed to acknowledge sufficiently the difficulty of coordinating donors and the need to bolster weak project management skills. The restructuring was not timely (see Section 8).  
Borrower Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Unsatisfactory
Counterpart funding was much less than expected and the implementing agency performed poorly. 
Quality of ICR:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:

Attempts to “harmonize” customary and statutory land tenure institutions will not be successful if the conflicts of interest over rent allocation are not addressed, and if priority is not given to distributing rents in accordance with the public good. In Ghana, the customary authorities exercise considerable leverage over the government, a circumstance that stymies attempts by the state to make land administration more transparent and more responsive to the needs of the nation at large. Formalizing land administration threatens the power of the chiefs to allocate, first and foremost in their own interest, the revenues they derive from land. Unless government is prepared to tackle the issue of rent distribution, interventions by external development partners are unlikely to make much headway. There is a related matter that needs to be resolved before projects proceed. Any intervention is likely to confront questions about the terms of decentralization: should the revenues generated through land administration accrue to elected local governments or to neighborhood chiefs? The answer to this question will hinge on which of these authorities is best placed and best motivated to invest the proceeds in building and maintaining the infrastructure that the broader community needs.

Land tenure reform calls for a long-term commitment by the government and its development partners; this commitment may be facilitated by a programmatic lending instrument but the commitment must precede the choice of instrument—the instrument by itself will not create the necessary commitment. Various people told IEG that the Land Administration Project should have been financed by an Adaptable Program Loan (APL), allowing for several tranches of assistance over a 15-20 year period. This was, indeed, the Bank’s original intention but it changed its mind shortly before the loan was approved. While this assessment acknowledges that experience in other countries (most notably, Thailand) demonstrates that a 15-20 year program is needed, the evidence from Ghana suggests that even if the Bank had approved an APL, for reasons of political economy, the various power holders were unlikely to make the necessary commitment.

The Bank’s annual Doing Business survey may give a misleading impression about trends in the efficiency of property registration services. In Ghana, as well as in other countries with land administration projects recently assessed by IEG, the Doing Business benchmark indicators for property registration often suggest significant efficiency increases. It is important to bear in mind that the benchmark indicators refer to a single type of property in a single type of area (periurban) and give no indication of the variation around the mean in terms of the time taken and the cost incurred. Some part of this variation may reflect whether or not the client is willing or able to bribe officials to expedite the registration process. Because it is not susceptible to this consideration of wide variation in performance, the Doing Business indicator on the number of procedures needed to register property may be a more reliable guide to efficiency than the indicators on time taken and cost incurred.

Although the Bank’s good practice guidelines indicate that the efficiency of land administration services tends to be higher when they are handled by a single agency, in practice, consolidating land agencies does not in itself ensure that their efficiency will improve. In Ghana, the 2008 Lands Commission Act merged four of the six land sector agencies. This is widely hailed as one of the more significant achievements of the Land Administration Project. IEG found that despite the change in the legal status of these agencies they continued to operate as separate entities, with separate accounting procedures. In the short term at least, the merger led to a redeployment of staff and equipment that has not increased efficiency and may have lowered it. Much of the equipment purchased by the project lies idle, partly because staff have neither the training nor the budgetary wherewithal to use it.

Projects with multiple cofinanciers are risky: if each insists on imposing its own procurement and disbursement procedures implementation may be delayed; and the strategic priorities of the partners may diverge in the course of project implementation, undermining support for achieving the project outcomes that were originally agreed to. The Land Administration Project had six development partners, each of which financed different project activities. It took considerable time for the partners to individually sign letters of agreement with government, holding up disbursement. The German agency, KfW, disagreed with other partners about the sequence of actions needed before it would disburse its contribution. The Bank and DFID differed about how to achieve the “harmonization” of customary and statutory laws that the project sought and, because of a change in corporate strategy, DFID withdrew from the project earlier than expected.

14. Assessment Recommended?

First, to verify the ratings. Second, because this was the first stand-alone land administration project that the Bank supported in Sub-Saharan Africa and there are lessons to be learned from comparing its performance with that of similar projects in other regions covered in previous PPARs.

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Although the ICR cites valuable lessons it has several significant weaknesses. Section 3.2 does not explicitly assess achievements in relation to the original and revised project development objectives, but groups achievements under three somewhat arbitrary headings (institutional development, policy reforms and pilot activities). Also, the ICR could have been more incisive in discussing the appropriateness and the timeliness of the restructuring. If the project was (as some argued) too complex in relation to implementing capacity, the ICR needed to suggest what components could have been left out; and why the restructuring did not entail a more radical cut in the project's scope. Two minor oversights are noted. Page v gives an outcome rating of moderately satisfactory but page 12 states that outcome is rated satisfactory. In local currency terms, there are different estimates of the increase in land transaction revenues between the 2003 baseline and credit closing in 2011: page ix indicates an increase from 1.4 million cedis to 202.4 million cedis; page 13 says that the increase was from 11.3 million cedis to 26.6 million cedis.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Unsatisfactory

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