Accra, May 12, GNA – A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has identified Ghana as having the highest emigration rates for highly skilled emigrants.
According to European Union estimates, 33.8 per cent of emigrants from Ghana living in OECD countries possess medium skills while 27.6 per cent have high skills with only three per cent of Ghanaian emigrants having no skills.
Mr Leslie Kojo Christian, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who announced this at a Diaspora project review meeting in Accra, said despite those encouraging international statistics, domestic data and knowledge on both the scale and characteristics of Ghana’s diaspora remained limited.
‘In addition, there is no national strategic framework on the diaspora to drive the debate on diaspora engagement in Ghana as well as provide relevant services, including data management and capacity building.
‘For these reasons, among others, according to the World Bank report, in 2013, Ghana for instance, recorded a relatively lower amount in remittances from the Ghanaian diaspora, totaling 163 million dollars as compared to Nigeria and Senegal which covered 30 billion dollars and 1.5 billion dollars respectively, through formal channels, within the same year,’ he added.
The diaspora engagement project dubbed ‘Linking the Ghanaian Diaspora to the Development of Ghana’ was part of Government’s commitment to attract desired level of involvement in national development by the Ghanaian diaspora.
It would also cover all Ghanaians abroad as well as peoples of African descent that are willing to contribute to the development of the nation and efforts are deployed to enhance their capacity to contribute meaningfully to national development.
Mr Christian said in the prevailing circumstances, successive Governments, especially from the Fourth Republic have engaged the compatriots abroad with varying degrees of success.
He cited the institution of Panafest, hosting of ‘Emancipation Day’, ‘Africa American Summit’, ‘the Homecoming Summit’ and the enactment of the Immigration Act (Act 373) in 2000, as some of the measures taken to ensure effective engagement with the Diaspora.
He said however, all those laudable initiatives had lacked any clear institutional framework and structures for effective and efficient engagement and that led to the setting up of the erstwhile Diaspora Support Unit in 2012, which has now been upgraded to a full-fledged Bureau in 2014, known as Diaspora Affairs Bureau (DAB).
He noted that the role of Ghanaian Diaspora in national development, has in recent years won high recognition from the government at the highest levels.
‘The tremendous contribution of the Diaspora towards the decolonization of our country and the continent as a whole is a well-known historical fact. Financial flows in the form of remittances from the African diaspora allegedly outpaced the combined volume of Official Development Assistance and Foreign Direct Investments to Africa in 2013, he added’.
Some of the strategies to employ include, identifying engagement goals, mapping Diaspora geography and skills, creating relationship of trust between the Ghanaian Diaspora and governments and ultimately, mobilizing the diaspora populations to contribute to sustainable development.
Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM), said mapping out the diaspora is very strategic because that was the only way to have effective engagement for national development.
She stressed the need to include the second and first generations in the engagement process to achieve meaningful goals.
Ms Lopez-Ekra cautioned members of the committee to be careful not to be seen as managing the diaspora so that they could win their trust and commitment.
Mr David Tette, Advisor, Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM/GIZ) pledged their continuous support to ensure the success of the project.
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