Measures Need To Be Put In Place To Harness Migration Benefits

Ghana Immigration Service
Ghana Immigration Service

A research finding on South-South Migration, Inequality, and Development Hub (MIDEQ): China-Ghana Corridor has recommended that policy makers put in measures to harness the full benefits of migration along the corridor for socio-economic development of Ghana.

The research called for effective collaboration with partners to put resources together to train security and immigration officers to maximise the benefits.

It noted that though South-South migration had the potential to reduce inequalities and contribute to development, that potential was yet to be fully realised.

Conducted by a team of consortium from the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana, the research looked at how Chinese investments stimulate the economy of Ghana and how the resulting trade leads to new patterns of migration of Ghanaian traders to the Guangzhou and Yiwu regions of China, displacing old forms of inequalities.

It also explored the differential patterns and impacts of migration, employment, and money flows on gender inequalities.

The MIDEQ research was funded by the UK Research and Innovation and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which worked with a global network of partners in 12 countries in the Global South, with over 100 institutions.

It was organised into six migration corridors to enhance understanding of the relationships between migration, development and inequality.

Ghana’s work is on the Ghana: China corridor, aimed at translating knowledge and ideas into policies and practices, which work to improve the lives of migrants, their families and the communities in which they live.

Professor Joseph Teye, the Director of CMS and the Leader of the Consortium, said: “The Ghana-China corridor is an emerging one and there are enough prove to that effect.”

He said despite the negative impacts there were also positive outcomes and mentioned job creation, benefits to business partners in Ghana including those fronting for Chinese businesses, government revenue through taxes, social benefits and cultural diversity, language, and construction of infrastructure as some of the positive impacts.

The studies, he said, sampled 1,268 Chinese in Ghana who had stayed from three months to 20 years out of which 58 came from the Greater Accra Region, with age distribution ranging from 26 to 40 years.

Prof. Teye said while the focus of the literature on Chinese migration into Africa had been on formal sector government-to-government projects, especially large-scale construction projects, the Ghana-China corridor was a good example of irregular migration into informal sectors in both directions.

“The corridor provides a good example of Chinese migration that is not connected to government-related projects but rather involves informal, middle/small scale investment and engagement in petty trading by establishing networks with Ghanaian traders, despite the fact that this is not allowed under Ghanaian laws,” he said.

Most of the Chinese migrants cited availability of business opportunities, investment capital and technical capacity, government loan conditionalities to Ghana, among others, as the main drive that informed their decisions to move to Ghana.

The research also revealed that complex reasons account for migration, whereas the male cited economic reasons, their female counterparts mentioned family reasons for the first time, then economic opportunity.

It revealed that whiles the female Chinese always went through proper recruitment processes, the case was not same with the men, who normally took risks to get to their destinations.

Dr Mary Satrana, a Senior Lecturer, CMS, and a member of the research team, said the studies also showed some infractions such as violation of investment, trade and mining laws as well as violation of rights of Ghanaians and Chinese migrants at the work place, and exploitation.

Prof. Godfred Bokpin, an Economist and Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana Business School, said government needed to look at the tax factor as the current tax structure was not helping the country.

Any measure to that effect should be deliberate and conscious to ensure that businesses were prepared to pay high taxes, he said.

“People must be at the centre of our policies, and we need to be intentional about what we do.”
Though Ghana had the finest policies and laws, it was constrained by implementation, being the biggest challenge, he said.

The MIDEQ works to shift the production of knowledge about migration and its consequences towards the countries where most migration takes place – engaging with contested concepts and definitions, decolonising research processes and generating new evidence and ideas.

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