The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said 476,400 migrants live in Ghana, while over one million Ghanaians live abroad.
“These foreign migrants living in Ghana, as well as Ghanaians living abroad, are engines for social development in both their host communities and their communities of origin,” it said.
The IOM’s Chief of Mission for Ghana, Benin and Togo, Abibatou Wane, disclosed this at the launch of the IOM Ghana Country Strategy for 2022 to 2025 at a ceremony in Accra yesterday.
She said despite the progress made to date by the government to address the problem of migration in the country, including the formulation of various policies and mainstreaming migration into the government’s medium-term National Development Policy framework, much more work needed to be done.
Ms Wane explained that as a result of the need to do more, the IOM, in consultation with the government, and in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Partnership Framework, developed a new strategy for Ghana.
She pointed out that as a country of origin, transit and destination in the ECOWAS sub-region, Ghana’s migration dynamics were complex, explaining that while some were attracted to the country for its relative stability, others left for lack of economic opportunities.
What is in the strategy
The Chief of Mission of IOM Ghana said the strategy outlined how the organisation was preparing to respond to migrant trends and its challenges to the government’s priorities through collaboration with UN agencies, civil society and the private sector.
Those, she explained, would be pursued through six strategic priorities, namely: immigration and border management, counter-trafficking, assisted voluntary return and reintegration, migration and development, migration, health and emergency, preparedness, response and stabilisation.
Ms Wane said those six strategic priorities had been linked to Ghana’s national policy framework and when implemented, they would contribute towards supporting the government and the people of Ghana to leverage the positive contributions of migrants and migration to social and economic development, while limiting the impact of adverse drivers and other elements that led to unfavourable migration outcomes.
“Through this new strategy, the IOM also reconfirms its commitment to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society,” she said.
Ghana affected by migration
The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the ministry, Adelaide Anno-Kumi, said Ghana was affected by all the facets of migration and mobility, including regular, irregular, refugee, human trafficking and cross-border crimes.
He said the country’s youth, who formed the majority of the population, kept attracting government’s attention in relation to addressing unemployment, which had been identified as one of the factors why Ghanaians embarked on irregular migration to seek greener pastures.
He said, unfortunately, those efforts by the government had been negated by the COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which had resulted in economic difficulties globally.
“The crisis in the ECOWAS subregion, particularly Mali and the Sahel, raises a number of questions related to border management. The ease with which rebels, weapons and contraband materials are smuggled into the Sahel from Liberia indicates the inadequacy of established structures in terms of policies, agencies, laws, systems and procedures relating to border security management,” he said.
Mr Dery, who launched the strategy, expressed the gratitude of the government to the IOM for supporting the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to enforce border security along the northern frontiers, with the most recent being the renovation of the Hamile border post in the Upper West Region.
The Development Cooperations Framework
The officer in charge of Data Management, Evaluation and Registration at the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Myra Togobo, announced that the UN was in the process of developing the next UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
She explained that the new framework, which would focus on issues such as financing the SDGs, green transformation, digital transformation and ensuring no one was left behind, would have three pillars, namely: economic transformation, access to basic services and peace.