Project Details

A farmer in Ghana in a field with houses behind


Helping the poorest to register land ownership.

By Medeem, LLC

Project URL:

  • Economic Empowerment
  • Social Exclusion
  • Geolocation
  • Mobile

According to renowned economist Hernando de Soto, the inability of the world’s poor to gain formal recognition of their property rights is a major stumbling block to alleviating poverty. De Soto points out that almost everywhere in the world the poor have one thing in common: the only significant asset they have is the land they occupy. Unfortunately, over one billion of the world’s poor lack the simple security of any type of legal recognition that the land they occupy is theirs. In part this is because ownership is often informal or based on customary forms of tenure. Nowhere is this truer than in the African nation of Ghana.

By leveraging geographic information systems (GIS) based technologies, a consortium of private sector companies joined together in 2008 to implement a sustainable and scalable approach to the land registration process in Ghana, known as Medeem. The title, based on the Ghanaian Twi phrase ‘mi din mu’ means ‘in my name’. Medeem utilises the distribution network of microfinance lenders with an innovative GIS-based paralegal titling process to significantly reduce the time and cost involved in collecting and documenting property ownership information. The processes do not seek to replace the role of government, but to enable the practical use of private sector expertise and significant cost savings to bring transformational change to the lives of the poor by providing legal empowerment that is both affordable and accessible.

Medeem is currently operating at scale in Ghana, and recently began a pilot in Zambia. With an estimated $9.3 trillion of untapped capital globally being attributed to the lack of formalised land rights, the scalable technology created by the Medeem team should continue to spread apace.

Image 'NP Ghana 63 copy' courtesy of CIAT

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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