Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, Head of the Local Government Service, has called on Ghanaian specialists in the Diaspora to begin thinking about home, to help build a desirable Ghana.
“No matter what problems confront us as a nation, the Ghanaian diaspora need to learn from the Chinese, Japanese and the South Koreans who learnt and acquired some skills from the West and still left for their countries in spite of the challenges that confronted their countries at the time”.
He intimated that Ghanaians at home and abroad were the only people who could build the country and that should be a challenge to all and sundry.
Dr. Ato Arthur said this when he launched the GIZ Returning Experts Alumni Network of Ghana (RANG) Programme for Migration & Diaspora (PMD) in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The Network Ghana would create the needed ambience and related structures to foster knowledge sharing across the borders of Ghana and Germany, through migrant experts of Ghanaian origin.
He said more than 50 percent of tertiary educated citizens from over 20 developing countries left their countries to work abroad, while at the same time these countries were spending huge sums of their hard-earned scarce resources on expatriates from developed countries.
The concept of brain drain was seen as a loss of investment by the respective countries because most of the professionals had enjoyed their training from their indigenous countries, he pointed out.
“Over time however, even though the desire by young Ghanaians to go abroad to study and acquire skills have increased with the desire to come home and support the development of the nation after their education and training dwindling”.
The Head of the local government service said many factors accounted for this situation, prominent among them were the relatively downward trend of the economy compared to the post-independence era, what some Ghanaian diaspora see as indiscipline, dishonesty and the moral bankruptcy.
The corruption and the seeming ease with which crimes, including murders were committed in the country of late scared many, coupled with limited job opportunities to them also becomes a disincentive for them to want to come to Ghana to serve…”Even to the extent that, some argue that job opportunities have become political, though debatable.”
He stated that the challenges notwithstanding, the Ghanaian diaspora still supported the economy of the country in diverse ways, adding that for instance 2018 alone, Ghana received over USD3.5 billion in remittances according to a world Bank report.
Prior to the above, in the field of politics, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Prof. Kofi Abrefa Busia and the J. A. Kufuor who were trained outside this country, came to be part of the stock of politicians who were fighting to attain independence for this nation.
Again, Prof. Frimpong Boateng and Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey also came from the diaspora to support our journey towards national development and growth.
“The roles they played in the health and energy sectors of our economic and social lives are so enormous. There are still so many who cannot be mentioned here today.
“It is generally accepted that the development and progress of any community is by and large influenced by the sons and daughters of that community who by choice or chance migrated from that community to another community in search of knowledge, skills and experiences for life,” He added.
He added that from 1994, approximately 15,000 Returning Experts have been supported by PMD and Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) Programme of GIZ serving the universities and other sectors of the economy.
“As a Returned Expert myself, I believe that there is the need to bring all of us together to support the development of our dear nation with our diverse skills set, talents and resources in ways that will positively impact Ghana… I am extremely excited with the launch of Returning Experts Alumni Network Ghana… indeed, one person can make a difference.”
Addressing the members of the network, Wilhelmina Onyango, Project Manager responsible for the field of action of the Programme Migration & Diaspora, urged them to continue to promote Ghana in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Senior National Coordinator, Ms. Abena Owusua Amponsah-Bio, said the idea to create an alumni network started four years ago to bring the experts together for shared growth.
The Head of the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration, Mr. Benjamin Woesten, highlighted the support of GIZ to the Alumni Network and charged them to build on their established impact to continue to make their impact felt in the country’s development discourse.
It is expected that the launch of the Returning Experts Alumni
would push forward socio-economic development in the country.