Ghanaians abroad send back home up to a billion dollars

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- Ghanaians living abroad could be sending back home as much as a billion dollars annually, Dr Valentino Mazzucato, a researcher working on the Ghana Transnational Network Research Programme (Ghana Transnet) indicated here Wednesday.
Mazzucato said estimates of remittances for Ghana range from 500 million dollars according to World Bank sources to one billion dollars, which were estimates of the IMF and the Bank of Ghana.
Ghana Transnet is financed by the Dutch National Science Foundation.
Dr Mazzucato was presenting a paper at the Conference on Migration and Development in Accra that the importance of remittances from migrants to their homes was gaining increasing recognition internationally.
The programme studied remittances within 30 networks of Ghanaian migrants based in the Netherlands from June 2003 to July 2004.
According to the findings, the Ashanti, Eastern and Greater Accra regions receive the most remittances from Ghanaian migrants.
Many remittances or overseas transfers are made to urban areas and then distributed to other locations.
Dr Mazzucato, who is also a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam said it was difficult to get accurate estimates about remittances from abroad from the national data or the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS).
"What is needed is a national survey that is specifically designed to capture detailed data about remittances, while concomitantly surveying Ghanaians in overseas destinations.
"Information should be collected not only on remittances accruing to individuals and households as the GLSS currently does, but also on remittances spent for funerals and other ceremonies and community development projects," he said.
Bank of Ghana research director Dr E.
Addison said studies conducted on the main use of remittances worldwide and in Ghana in particular, suggested that a large part of these funds are used for daily expenses such as food, clothing and health care.
"Some of these funds are also spent on the construction of houses, buying of land and performing of funerals," Addison said, adding that the policy challenge now was how to leverage remitted funds towards development by forging alliances.
The three-day conference, which opened on Tuesday, is exploring multi-faceted issues related to migration and development within the context of the economic and social development of Ghana.
The UN Development Programme, the Institute of African Studies and the Royal Netherlands Embassy are organising the meeting.
Among topics being treated are overseas remittances and brain drain.
One aim of the meeting is geared towards ensuring that migration becomes mutually beneficial to the sending as well as receiving countries.
The conference would try to discover the linkages between migration and development and to ensure that migration becomes mutually beneficial to the sending as well as receiving countries.

15 september 2004 20:55:00

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