Ghanaian migrants’ remittances in 2019 stood at US$3.7billion, which equals 5.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a report from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA- 2020) has shown.
According to the report, currently some 970,000 Ghanaians live and work outside their home country – representing a rapidly-growing cohort of the Ghanaian populace with a significant contribution to the country’s GDP, and if managed properly could be of immense benefit to the economy.
“If migration is managed properly and channeled into the regular pathways, it holds numerous benefits of which knowledge transfer, transnational relations remittances and diaspora engagement form but a few. However, if taken irregularly, migration also poses a dangerous threat to lives and livelihoods of migrantsm while at the same time putting strain on local communities,” DESA indicated.
Projects Manager-GIZ-International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Florian Braendli, reiterated that migrants contribute more to national development of their local economies than foreign assistance does – adding that migration happens on a daily basis, both internal and across borders, making it an inevitable part of human life; and as such must not be seen as a problem to solve but a reality to manage properly.
“Migration is a daily phenomenon, 272 million people are migrants outside their home country, therefore if we are to put them together as a country, they would be the fourth largest country by population in the world.
In 2019, migrants actually sent home as remittances US$550 billion and that is four or five times more than all the official development assistance put together for middle- and lower-income countries. So, migrants have much more responsibility for development of middle- and lower-income countries than foreign assistance,” he said.
International Migrants Day celebration
The United Nations has earmarked December 18 every year as International Migrants Day, which was commemorated this year by the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GGC) with a national sensitisation activity.
This year’s commemoration was themed ‘Reimagining human mobility: Tapping the potentials of returned migrants for national development’ and used to remember what migrants have contributed to national development, as well as putting resources together to tackle the challenges associated with irregular migration.
Senior National Programme Coordinator-Programme Migration for Development (PME), GGC under the auspices of GIZ, David Tette, in his address stressed that GGC was initiated to leverage the development potential of migration; alleviate the risks associated with it; and work toward the creation of socio-economic prospects for local populations, especially returning migrants.
“So, what we do at GGC is to offer counselling, entrepreneurship training, skills development and employability enhancement services to returnees and potential migrants, in order to assist them to make living in Ghana. We always want people to know that it is not that there are no greener pastures in Ghana; there are several of them, it’s just that they have not found them or not been told about them.
“Several of our youths have lost their lives and lie in the cemetery without graves – the Mediterranean Sea – just because they are trying to go and better their lives elsewhere; and we use this day to remember them and let people know there are opportunities here and there’s no need going to risk their lives in the desert,” he said.