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Jacqueline Saunders, Clement Ahiadeke and John K. Anarfi

4.1 Introduction

This chapter is based on fieldwork undertaken in Ghana and the UK and on in-country literature reviews. In Ghana, research was undertaken among 22 households - 17 households with a migrating family member and five without - in the Eastern Region and in Greater Accra. The former has a strong history of cash cropping, traditionally cocoa but increasingly non-traditional export crops like pineapples. The latter provides insights into the linkages between international remittances and land relations in peri-urban areas. Both sites present medium to high levels of out-migration, particularly to the UK. Attempts to match London migrants to the Ghanaian households for the UK fieldwork were unsuccessful. Instead, migrants in London were identified through Ghanaian church and community-based organizations as well as personal contacts. Since all the London-based Ghanaian migrants came from cities, the London fieldwork has an urban bias. A “portrait” methodology was used with four migrants - two men (Peter and Rev Justice) and two women (Gwen and Betty). Due to time constraints, it was not possible to discuss the portraits in larger focus groups meetings, as initially planned. Interviews were also held in London with key informants from church and migrants’ associations. Although the number of households interviewed in Ghana is small and the methodology used is qualitative, percentages are sometimes used in the tables presented in this chapter for easier reading.

4.2 Migrating from Ghana to the UK

Ghana has a long tradition of migration and mobility: figures suggest that up to 50 percent of Ghanaians migrate at some point in their lives (Litchfield and Waddington, 2003), although much of this is internal or regional. However, international migration is now assuming greater importance (Ammassari and Black, 2001). Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s political repression was a major cause of emigration (Ajibewa and Akinrinade, 2003) - one of the London-based migrants (Peter) as well as others interviewed in London identified this as a reason for leaving, while Gwen was unable to return to Ghana for political reasons following a visit to the UK. Since the end of the 1990s economic factors have assumed greater importance in migration decisions, particularly among Ghanaian males (Sander and Maimbo, 2003): economic downturn coupled with rapid population growth have created numerous knock-on effects in the country, including sharp rises in the labour force, low wages, unemployment and an increasing cost of living (Ammassari and Black, 2001). Economic factors have also deterred long-standing migrants from returning: Peter and Gwen both acknowledged that, even with low wages, they were better off in the UK.

The UK has traditionally been the preferred destination for most migrating Ghanaians, although this is now changing towards other countries, particularly the US, Germany and Italy (Schoorl, in Sander and Maimbo, 2003). Among the households interviewed in Ghana, migrant destinations included Austria (1), Holland (1), Italy (3), the UK (4), Germany (2), Spain (2), and Switzerland (1). Many Ghanaian migrants interviewed in London confirmed that the decision to come to the UK was due to shared history, language and institutions, extensive trade links and the increased likelihood of support on arrival provided through established networks of family and friends.

Ghanaians constitute the largest and the oldest immigrant African population in London. At first Ghanaians were part of the transient population of sailors arriving in the dockland area of London, but the numbers remained small. The decade after the UK Nationality Act of 1948 witnessed a large influx of immigrants who, due to their colonial status, were allowed to enter Britain without restriction to fill the labour shortages of the post-war economy (Segal, 1995). The new immigrants were mainly confined to urban areas where employment was easier to find - primarily in low paid manual jobs in the health, transport and catering industries.

Immigration policy in the UK has also influenced the size and nature of more recent migration patterns. Since 1998 the UK Government has actively recruited overseas for skilled labour especially for the health service, while also introducing successive policies aimed at reducing asylum seekers. Data from Ghana indicate similar trends: the majority (up to 80 percent) of health professionals leave the country within five years of graduating (IOM), and the number of overseas trained nurses and midwives from sub-Saharan Africa registering with the UK Cooperative Council increased from 905 in 1998/99 to 2,133 in 2000/01 (World Bank, 2000).

Today, in London, Ghanaians are concentrated in Dalston, Brixton and Lewisham. Official figures from the Home Office Census and the Ghana High Commission (Home Office website; Ghana High Commission web site) estimate Ghanaians living in Britain at 20,000, although the real figure is likely to be much higher.

A migrant’s life in London - networks and associations

On arrival in the UK, Ghanaians rely heavily on family connections for support, particularly for housing, finance and information about job opportunities. All the London-based migrants as well as others interviewed generally knew someone in London, and three relied on relatives for housing and financial assistance. All the migrants described the cultural shock of arriving in London, despite a wealth of information provided by family and friends. London was highlighted as an unfriendly place compared to other parts of the UK (Rev Justice) and even more so compared to Ghana.

Many migrants join formal associations or church-based groups where they exist, or establish new ones to lessen the impacts of migration - isolation, loss of community and identity, absence of support, accessing information in a foreign country. For some, membership of an association or a church is a means of establishing and reaffirming cultural identity and increasing Ghanaian solidarity within a seemingly hostile multi-cultural environment.

As well as providing support to isolated migrants, associations and church-based groups also offer opportunities for migrants to establish contacts, broaden their networks and enhance their “social capital”. All the London-based migrants except Betty were members of an association or very active in the Church, and all acknowledged the importance of both in Ghanaian life in London. While Betty claimed that she did not belong to an association, she had contacted friends from school to establish an old girls’ group. All the London-based migrants confirmed that they had received, or may expect to receive help through e.g. fostering or baby sitting children, obtaining information or access to jobs, housing and financial help through their Church based groups or associations. In Gwen’s case, she had used her contacts at the Church to develop and improve her trading activities and income earning opportunities.

Ghanaian social networks in the UK are extremely varied and broad ranging: as well as organizations based on traditional family or church ties, Ghanaian migrants also establish a social identity overseas through groups established around shared language and ethnic, geographical, educational and even occupational backgrounds. A list of community organizations in London provided by the Ghanaian High Commission lists a wide variety of town and village-based associations, old boys and girls school and university groups, and profession-based groups such as accountants and nurses.

4.3 Remittances and livelihoods

Remittances - how much?

Although remittances to Ghana have not kept pace with the global rise in remittance flows, in absolute terms they have increased significantly and now play a crucial role at both national and household levels (Table 1). The Bank of Ghana estimates that, in 2001, total remittance receipts stood at $400 million - approximately 20 percent of Ghana’s export earnings - and ranked fourth after cocoa, gold and tourism as a source of foreign exchange. At the household level, remittances are an important source of income, often lifting family members out of poverty and providing for essential consumption items and payment of bills. Those receiving remittances enjoy a higher standard of living than non-receivers (Addy, 2003), as well as greater access to resources and services such as land and education.

Table 1. Remittance flows to Ghana


Migration as share of population percent

Official remittances ($million)

As share of GDP (percent)

















Source: R Adams and J Page, 2003

As the figures indicate, remittances to Ghana have increased substantially in a decade, while also constituting an increasing share of the country’s GDP over the same period.

Data are not available for amounts sent specifically from the UK to Ghana, but according to Nuro (1999), the amounts sent by individual professional migrants range from $1,000 to $5,000 a year with a mean of $2,200. Tiemoko (2003) puts the figure anywhere between $1,000 and $14,000 (between 1999 and 2000).

The fieldwork in Ghana does not provide information on the amounts received at the household level, but the interviews with London-based migrants suggest that Nuro’s and Tiemoko’s figures are high for UK migrants. The level of remittances from the London-based migrants we interviewed tends towards the lower end of the scale. For example, Betty specifies that she sends £600 a year (approximately $1000) with additional amounts sent for specific purposes if needed. As a professional teacher and married to an accountant, Betty represents the higher earning scale of all the migrants interviewed. Residence in London may help to explain why the amount falls below the estimated mean: property and the cost of living in the capital are widely acknowledged to be extremely high and therefore limit the amount that Betty can remit. In addition, she is not sending money for her own house building, land purchase or business development project. Her parents meanwhile are reasonably well off, particularly her father, and also receive money from other working siblings. Nevertheless, Betty confirmed that the amount she sent was based on her own view on what her parents needed, regardless of her own income. In contrast, Gwen sent all her income home when she first arrived in the UK. Although the exact amount is not provided, her remittances were used to complete a house as well as support her dependents - three children being cared for by her mother in Ghana. Peter, who was on a low income and had young children, remitted about £200 a year although the amount was not guaranteed: as well as being low paid, Peter did not want to encourage dependency, so his own family needs in London were given priority. While Peter sent home less money than other migrants, he contributed to household essentials such as medicines, luxury items on special occasions, as well as gifts which were taken home, and expected by his family, on recent visits to Ghana.

“The ability to send remittances is a source of great pride”.
Anonymous Ghanaian migrant, London

Whatever the amount, all London-based migrants, as well as others interviewed, expressed a commitment to helping family members financially, particularly aging parents. In the absence of a pension system in Ghana, older people rely on working family members, both at home and overseas, while children see it as their responsibility to help their parents. Although there is not necessarily an expectation on the part of parents, or duty on the part of children, most people do contribute out of a sense of pride or desire to help. Remittances reflect this social dimension of the migration process. “Earning money for oneself is not a legitimate reason to migrate abroad” (Van Dijk, 2000). All the migrant participants pointed to this aspect inherent in both Ghanaian life generally, and family life in particular, where members help one another in a variety of ways: remittances are one channel, but several others exist, including fostering children with relatives, membership of associations and church support.

Box 8. The importance of remittances for migrants and families

Betty sends money to her father and her mother, and occasionally to her step-mother. She considered it a very important dimension of family life that children look after their parents in their old age. There is no pension system in Ghana and so it is left to the family to provide. Although there is no obligation to send money there is an expectation that working children will help out and ensure that parents do not lack for anything and are comfortable. Similarly, Betty considers it her responsibility to help her parents and that the remittance, regardless of the amount, is a reflection of that commitment.

Source: Portrait interview with Betty, London.

And in what form?

How much is sent by migrants, and how it is transferred depends on a variety of factors, particularly the economic and political conditions in both the home and destination countries. Until recently, exchange controls in Ghana have hampered currency flows, while tax exemptions on goods brought in for personal use by migrants absent for at least one year have encouraged many to bring in goods rather than money, which may then be sold for cash. This includes clothes, cars, electrical appliances, household goods as well as office equipment.

In addition to goods, the informal transfer of cash remittances (e.g. through migrants, relatives or friends carrying cash) means that some remittances are not captured in official statistics. This is certainly the case for Ghana, where 95 percent of remittances are transferred in kind (e.g. electrical goods, cars and household items; Anarfi in Sander and Maimbo, 2003). Remittance levels could therefore be up to 2.5 times higher than official estimates suggest.

Fieldwork data from Ghana also demonstrates a variety of transfer channels (Table 2), and while cash is the most frequent route, the bulk of remittances are in the form of goods. One family acknowledged that a migrant family member used to send cars to be sold for cash, with the proceeds transferred to him. Other types of remittance brought in by migrants may be for businesses, such as farm equipment, grain mills, outboard motors and business machines. In London, both Peter and Gwen reported taking goods with them on visits to Ghana. For Gwen this was part of her trading activities, taking British goods into Ghana and bringing back Ghanaian goods.

Table 2. Types of remittances

Type of remittance

Frequency of response

Percentage of response







Personal belongings









Farming equipment






Source: Ghana fieldwork. N.B: The total number of interviewers is 22; the table presents the frequency of responses in both absolute and relative terms; each interviewee may provide one or more responses.

Cash is important, however, as it is the chief means for acquiring other goods and services, particularly land for house building (see next section).

Remittance use

Data on the use of remittances is highly varied depending on the individual household, the structure of the local economy, exchange rates and political stability among other factors. In Ghana the majority of remittances are used for consumption (Asieudu, 2003; Snrech, 1998), with over 70 percent going on payment of hospital bills, school fees, marriages and funerals, house building and meeting daily needs.

Both the London and Ghana fieldwork also revealed that use of remittances, in the form of goods or cash, is oriented towards housing (from maintenance of the family house to buying residential land and building a new house) (Table 3).

Table 3. Use of remittances

Remittance use

Frequency of response

Percentage of response

Building plot/housing project



Housekeeping (food, clothes, etc.)



Agricultural plot/farming



Capital for business






Health care






Source: Ghana fieldwork. N.B: The total number of interviewers is 22; the table presents the frequency of responses in both absolute and relative terms; each interviewee may provide one or more responses.

House building and home ownership among Ghanaian migrants are paramount. The field work in both Ghana and London clearly demonstrates the priority attached to building a home: households in Ghana and migrants in London spoke of migrants’ aspirations to be independent, to have a decent place to live and to provide housing for families on their return. Of the London-based migrants, Rev Justice and Gwen had both used remittances to acquire land for building a house for themselves. Gwen spoke proudly of her house in Ghana and during the interview showed a video of it. Both Peter and Betty hoped to build houses before returning to Ghana, particularly Betty who effectively made it a condition of her return. The majority of migrant households in Ghana also used remittances to acquire land for housing and acknowledged similar activities among migrants more generally (Table 3). Besides house building in their home towns, some of the Ghanaian households and the London-based migrants also built houses in Accra or Kumasi, although land in Accra is very expensive. For Rev Justice, the reason was simply to be fair to his wife and children who were not from his home town. Peter plans to build in Kumasi, which is not far from his home town.

Box 9. Home sweet home

“They would want to stay in their own home instead of renting a place to reside. Other consideration for putting up the house is to afford other family members a decent place to lay down their heads.”

“In future they (migrants) might return home for good. When they come on a visit, other family members are inconvenienced due to lack of space and privacy. They feel obligated to help solve this problem since they are much advantaged to do so”.

“These investments are done because of posterity - the future benefit of children and family members, i.e. parents and siblings. Economically it is valuable as a source of income when they return home.”

Source: Respondents, Ghana fieldwork.

Ghanaian culture also holds great store by house building and for migrants particularly house ownership symbolises success. Smith and Mazzucato’s study of returned Ghanaian migrants (2003) reveals the importance of house building and house ownership which many reported conferred status or prestige, and defined “manhood”, particularly in Ashanti culture. Often migrants’ evaluation of themselves will include the construction of a house both for themselves and for close kin as an indicator of success (Manuh, 2003).

Box 10. A symbol of success

“The moment someone returns from Europe he gains respect in the society and he must live in his or her own house. He wants to be in a bigger house and at a quiet place so that when people visit him he will be respected and he will feel proud.”

“Building a residential house is a form of property ownership - it brings honour and dignity after years of working life”

Source: Respondents, Ghana fieldwork.

Cultural factors have been aided by economic and political developments in the country, particularly in Accra. During the 1980s, a policy was introduced which exempted new buildings from duty for five years, effectively prompting a rush on property building. The government also allowed privately owned foreign exchange bureaux, thereby liberalising financial transfers into the country. Moreover, foreign migrants responded to massive inflation by building houses like “mansions”. A subsequent arrangement to float the cedi meant that property was the safest form of investment.

Remittances are also used for business activities, either for migrants or their siblings. Goods brought into Ghana often include commercial items such as faxes or phones, outboard motors or cars for transport. Migrants from rural areas usually establish businesses in the major cities because of the availability of utilities, particularly electricity and water, as well as the potential market opportunities. These businesses tend to concentrate on communication centres, commercial transport and trade in second-hand goods. Three London-based migrants planned to acquire land for commercial building: Rev Justice was considering developing a cold storage fish facility in his home town of Komenda, while Betty hoped to set up a business before returning to Ghana. Peter also hoped to establish a business mainly because without it, he would be unable to support family members who would expect assistance.

Spending remittances on essential housekeeping is also a priority for migrants’ families. All the migrants interviewed in London sent remittances to support family members with essential housekeeping and consumption items: Peter sent money for specific items for special occasions, Gwen supported her children in Ghana, Rev Justice sent funds to help his sick father and also with funeral preparations, and Betty provided a regular income to her parents which was used for general housekeeping. Remittances also contributed to funeral and other ceremonial expenses. Births, marriages and funerals, which usually involve the wider community, are very important but very costly. People in rural areas tend to expect a funeral which is financed from abroad to be grander and demonstrated in the type of coffin, the number of guests, the catering and entertainment. This may also include house construction and renovation (Kabki et al, 2003). Kabki et al also suggest that families without migrants sometimes have to obtain loans to cover the costs. Rev Justice reported that he was sending back money to pay for the heavy funeral costs of his recently deceased father, and Betty similarly explained the expenses associated with social events such as births, marriages and funerals.

Use of remittances for education of family members through payment of school or university fees is also cited in the literature, although none of the respondents in either London or Ghana reported this use.

At a community level, funds remitted by overseas associations and churches often provide a life-line to deprived areas in Ghana: Sander and Maimbo (2003) report that during the 1980s and 1990s some health institutions in Ghana were only kept afloat because of donations from oversees associations. Support to schools, hospital buildings, providing water supplies, security and in some cases essential services were just some of the uses of association funds described by the migrants we interviewed.

4.4 Remittances and access to land

Land tenure and use in Ghana

Land tenure in Ghana, as in other parts of West Africa, is characterised by the coexistence of statutory and customary systems. Land legislation provides for a deeds registration system in most of the country (Land Registry Act, 1962) and for land title registration in selected urban areas (Land Title Registration Act, 1986). Under customary tenure, land is managed by chiefs that are organised in hierarchical structures (village to “paramount” chiefs), and that in a few cases may have quite developed mechanisms to record land transactions (“customary land secretariats”). A major land tenure reform programme is under way in order to increase tenure security, including by bridging the gap between the statutory and the customary, and by strengthening customary land secretariats.

As for land use, “new” cash crops, such as pineapple, mango, citrus and banana, are replacing traditional export crops (cocoa, coffee and oil palm) in several areas of Ghana. For instance, in the Eastern Region, citrus fruit and pineapples have largely replaced cocoa cultivation. The characteristics of new crops may bring social and economic change: citrus trees are productive for a longer period than cocoa, and pineapple production, often carried out on a medium to large scale, is more capital intensive than traditional crops. Major food crops include cassava, yam, rice, maize, beans and sorghum. Animal rearing (livestock and poultry particularly) is also a crucial aspect of rural livelihoods. Traditionally, export crops have been mainly grown by smallholders, particularly cocoa, although more recently larger scale agriculture has expanded, such as in the pineapple sector.

Using remittances to improve access to land

A large portion of our respondents used remittances to improve their access to land, although the majority of them did so for residential purposes. Acquisition of agricultural and residential land presents very different features.

According to data from the fieldwork in Ghana, residential land is either purchased or given as portion of the family land, whereas land for agriculture is generally leased long-term. In the study areas, residential land was acquired from individual owners or family heads. Acquiring plots for building is often the responsibility of a relative, most frequently a sibling. He/she usually receives the remittances and acts as the intermediary with the land owners. The reliance on family members and one-to-one direct transactions has both advantages and disadvantages. Land owners prefer to sell to migrants, knowing that they have ready cash and are able to pay higher prices; in order to avoid paying higher prices, a family member negotiating with land owners may try to disguise the fact that the land is being purchased for an overseas relative, as one Ghanaian respondent admitted to have done. On the other hand, there are reports that some relatives have acquired low quality plots, chosen inferior locations, or used the money to acquire plots for themselves, or even spent the money on other things (Smith, 2002; Manuh, 2003). Ethnic affiliations of both the seller and buyer may also hamper negotiations: for example, one respondent reported that a seller had experienced problems with a person from a particular ethnic group on a previous occasion and was not willing to do business with another member of the same group.

The evidence from both Ghana and London reveals much less interest among migrants and their families to acquire land for agricultural purposes. In the case of London, this may be due to the urban bias of the participating migrants. The majority of the Ghanaian households had acquired land for housing projects, although six respondents did use remittances for agricultural activities. This included mango, cashew and pineapple production for export, and poultry and livestock farming. There was some evidence of subsistence farming, although this was portrayed as an interim measure to prevent undeveloped land being sold again.

As with residential plots, migrants usually acquire land for agriculture through relatives. Whereas land for housing is usually purchased outright, agricultural land is generally leased for up to 50 years. However, it has been reported that land may in some cases be sold, particularly by land owners who need the money. Land for pineapple is leased on a large scale, and according to one respondent, it has been known for some buyers to cheat land owners into selling rather leasing, and thereby acquire large tracts of land.

Soaring land prices and access to land

Demand for house building has pushed up the price of land in urban and peri-urban areas. According to some respondents, the price of land is soaring, and migrant households are better able to pay these higher prices than non-migrant households. By injecting hard currency, international remittances are further pushing up land prices. Indeed, land owners are much more keen to sell to overseas-based migrants rather than local residents: not only can migrants come up with the ready cash both to buy land and develop it, the sellers also know they can extract a better price from them. On the other hand, residents usually need longer to access sufficient funds for both land purchase or lease and building, and may be forced to resell if they cannot start a project within a specific time period. Even if the land has already been sold or leased to a local, the original vendor may try to sell again after three years if the land is not developed, provoking the purchaser to start a lengthy litigation process. One respondent reported such an incident over 60 acres of land which had been leased to his family but also subsequently sold to an estate developer.

Effectively, migrant purchases are helping to fuel a cycle of spiralling costs and reduced access to land for less well-off residents. The majority of the respondents in the Ghana field study remarked on the rising costs of land, particularly plots for housing; most put this down to the pressure of demand from migrants although two respondents attributed rising costs to the general pressure of population. But for some Ghanaian households, responsibility for the high prices is laid firmly at the feet of land owners who are taking advantage of migrants’ ability to pay more by putting up prices and selling to the highest bidder.

The Ghana fieldwork also reports respondents who knew of brokers who specialised in land purchase, anticipating further scarcity and selling to other individuals and developers at higher prices. Often these are “strangers” who have acquired land through the customary system and then sell on. The numerous references among Ghanaian respondents to price rises and increasing land scarcity suggest that speculation is occurring, particularly on the part of land sellers who show a preference for overseas buyers, and astute individuals who are able to acquire land for onward sale.

Land use, tenure and disputes

It is clear that land prices are increasing and those with remittances are in a better position to buy or lease. This has effects on land ownership and use. Land is being removed from cultivation for house building financed from remittances, with consequences for agricultural production, in peri-urban Accra (Maxwell et al, 2000). Respondents in Ghana complained that high prices in towns were pushing residents to acquire land for residential purposes outside the perimeter - areas usually allocated to agriculture (see Box 11), which confirms that house building is encroaching on agricultural land.

Box 11. The impact of migrant land purchases

“Land is very difficult to come by and quite expensive, especially when the land owner gets to know that the buyer is coming from abroad they sell it exorbitantly.”

“There is much demand on land and this has made land owners raise the cost per plot. Available land is now far removed to the outskirts.”

“Land is very expensive because these people pay cash and would also like to buy it at very expensive prices. The interest of these landlords is in people who come from outside the country, especially Europe and US. This has made land very scarce over here.”

“It makes the land very expensive and is not easily available. It makes it difficult for people living here to have access to land”

“The owners are selling it exorbitantly. They put up a price tag almost equal to the cost of land in Accra.”

Source: Respondents, Ghana fieldwork.

Our fieldwork shows that, for sales of residential plots and leases of agricultural land, the movement is away from family held land towards individualized holdings. Lack of accountability within customary land tenure systems enables the family head or another senior member of the family to sell or lease land to migrants for personal benefit, possibly without consultation or compensation to those who lose out. This, together with the conversion from agriculture to residential plots, is undermining traditional systems of tenure and increasing insecurity for vulnerable, landless and poorer farmers, especially when family held lands are given to overseas-based migrants. The influx of overseas migrants or “outsiders” also presents a challenge to the legitimacy of customary institutions.

In rural areas, the move to pineapple farming is particularly challenging: pineapple cultivation is capital intensive and usually produced on a medium to large scale for export, and is therefore only accessible to those with sufficient finance. When family heads lease out land for pineapple plantations, it subtracts the land from the family for long periods compared to land allocated to food crops - up to 50 years in some cases of pineapple production.

In some areas, land disputes have also arisen due to land owners selling or leasing the land twice to two different individuals. Costly and lengthy litigation often ensues and may result in violence. Sometimes one family member may sell a building plot to someone who quickly erects a building to establish his claim to the land, although the seller may not have had the legal right to dispose of the land. When it comes to the notice of the family elders, the buyer is told to pay the appropriate price or risk going to court.

4.5 Conclusion

Fieldwork undertaken in both Ghana and the UK as well as wider literature demonstrate that sending remittances home to families and to communities is a major feature of the migration process: it links migrants with their homes and reflects bonds of responsibility where a broader network of relatives also derives benefit from an overseas family member.

International remittance flows have been increasing dramatically and Ghana is no exception. The use to which remittances are put shows that benefits primarily come in the form of cash and goods, with money being used to support daily household needs - such as payment of bills, food, clothes, education, and house building. On the other hand, only a few of our respondents in Ghana and no migrants interviewed in London demonstrated an interest in acquiring land for agricultural purposes. Those that did showed a preference for “new” crops like mangoes and pineapple.

In urban and peri-urban areas, demand for residential land among migrants, together with land owners’ preference for overseas-based migrants with cash in hand, is helping to fuel spiralling land prices. The demand for residential land is also leading to multiple sales of land, where it is both leased and sold simultaneously. As a result, families not benefiting from migrants’ remittances or unable to pay the high prices are being squeezed out of these areas. Moreover, agricultural land on the outskirts of towns is being converted to residential plots, taking land out of crop production. More broadly, international remittances seem to be one of the factors pushing towards the erosion of customary land tenure systems and towards greater individualization of land and property rights.

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