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Private cities, land, and the transformation of Africa’s urban fringe


Year published: 2023
Categories: Research Article

Author / Authors:

  • Austin Dziwornu Ablo


This paper explores the effects of large-scale land deals for a private city development project in Ghana – the Appolonia City of Light. From the conceptual lens of accumulation by dispossession, the article sheds light on the new forms of urban inequalities that arise from this project. It is argued that land acquisition for urban development has exacerbated existing inequalities and transformed the socioeconomic, spatial, and institutional context of the community. The project is beneficial to multinational corporations who accumulate through “sweet land deals” legitimized by the state. At the community level, there is a centralization of wealth among local elites who brokered such deals to make economic and political gains. Conversely, livelihoods dependent on the environment suffer dispossession in various forms. First, the loss of farmlands creates livelihood uncertainties. Second, the commodification of communal land disrupts social relations and land tenure arrangements and exacerbates chieftaincy disputes in the community.


  • Research Article