|International Conference On Migration and Development Opens In Accra|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:20|
A National Migration Policy, which seeks to promote the benefits and minimize the costs of internal and international migration in Ghana, is currently being developed, Prof. Mariama Awumbila, Director of the Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana, has disclosed.
Prof. Awumbila said migrants were increasingly being recognized as central development actors and as the “new” channel for development initiatives, as a result of which there was now a search for policy initiatives to ensure that migration worked for development in both the countries of origin and destination and for the migrants themselves.
She said Migration and development inter-linkages were increasingly gaining attention at national and international levels because of the importance of migration as a driving force of globalization and as an essential factor for the development of societies throughout the world.
She expressed regrets that rather than being used as a tool for socio-economic development, migrants were very often targets of discrimination, exploitation and abuse.
Prof Awumbila was addressing participants at the opening of an International Conference on Migration and Development in Accra, yesterday.
The two-day conference, which is being organized by the Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, in collaboration with the MDF Consortium, is on the theme ‘Migration and Development—Opportunities and Challenges in a Globalized World’.
In a keynote address, Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Dean, Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ghana, said migration affected livelihood outcomes positively by enhancing the financial, human and social capital or assets of the migrant and his or her family, and invariably reducing economic risks and vulnerability.
Prof. Agyei-Mensah said opportunities presented by migration included the acquisition of knowledge, skills and social capital while abroad which could be developed to enhance trade, market activities, capital flows and growth in their country of origin when they returned.
In addition, Prof. Agyei-Mensah said, migration also presented opportunities for the development of migrant businesses including Real Estate development as well as the positive influences of other cultures and languages.
He identified the challenges associated with migration as well, noting particularly the area of ‘brain drain’, where many trained and educate professionals from less-developed countries migrated to the advanced countries for better economic opportunities.
Other challenges, he said, were irregular migration, porous border and border management issues, limited and out-dated migration data and lack of a comprehensive policy on migration.
According to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Report (UNESCO, 2007), over 214 million people were migrants in 2010, compared to 190 million international migrants in 2005, of which number, it is believed that one-third or 58 million were from the Asia-Pacific region—53 million from Asia and 5 million from the Pacific.
It is also estimated that African migrants, including refugees and displaced persons, increased from 9 million to an estimated 25 million in 2005— even though migration is informal and undocumented in Africa.
By International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates in 2009, Ghanaian migrants are found in more than 33 countries around the world, leading to the observation that Ghana is one of the ten countries in the world that have produced and are involved in producing a ‘new Diaspora’ in recent times.
The IOM (2006) also estimates that Africa’s brain-drain has cost nearly US$9 billion due to human capital loss and growth potential since 1997.
Reports indicate that both the nurse and doctor vacancy rates in Ghana doubled between 1998 and 2002—a period characterized by the migration of health personnel from Ghana to Europe and the United States of America.
On the other hand, remittances, according to data from the Bank of Ghana, amounted to US$2.186 billion in 2011 compared to US$2.114 billion in 2010.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)