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GHANA STUDIES / Volume 14 ISSN 1536-5514 / E-ISSN 2333-7168© 2012 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 133 GROWING UP IN A TRANSNATIONAL HOUSEHOLD: A STUDY OF CHILDREN OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS IN ACCRA, GHANA ERNESTINA KORLEKI DANKYI Introduction International labour migration (ILM), whether it is forced or voluntary, is not a new phenomenon. Recently ILM has been growing with much dynamism , spanning all facets of migration including its composition, volume , and destinations that promise a world where hope and optimism co-exist with gloom and despair (Castles and Miller 2002). According to Douglas Massey et al. (2002), in traditional migrant receiving societies, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, the volume of immigration has grown and its composition has shifted decisively from Europe towards Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The intensity of these immigration flows is fuelled by the opportunities and forces of globalization (Vertovec 1999; Oppong 2004). The globalization process, they assert, has not only wrought economic expansion but has also led to unequal economic growth with great disparities between developed and developing countries. In the global South, high population growth has increased the supply of labour, creating a pool of emigrants with a mix of skills, ready to fill vacancies in the global North (Adepoju 2007). Millions of people are seeking work, a new home, or simply a safe place to live outside their countries of birth (Castles and Miller 2002). African scholars such as Aderanti Adepoju (2005) and Kwaku TwumBaah (2005) indicate that though migration cuts across social and economic backgrounds, economic hardship and the better opportunities 134 Ghana Studies • volume 14 • 2012 that the various receiving countries offer constitute a major motivation for most people to migrate. This motivation cuts across both skilled and non-skilled emigrants. There are no up-to-date statistics on migration in Ghana. However, the available statistics from the Ghana Immigration Service estimate that total departures from Ghana between 1996 and 2005 were 4,118,966 (Manuh 2006). The estimated skill status of the labour migrants ranked as high, middle, and low stands at 33.8 percent, 27.6 percent and 24.2 percent respectively, whilst the remaining 3.6 percent were without any known skills (Quartey 2006a). The United States appear to have the highest proportion of Ghanaian emigrants, followed by the United Kingdom. The emigrants are found in various professions within the formal sector: health, education, engineering, managerial, administrative, as well as the informal sectors. Most of these movements have been aided by the Diversity Visa Programme of the United States and the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme of the United Kingdom. For four consecutive years from 2001 to 2004, Ghana was among the top ten sending countries to the United States through its Diversity Visa Programme (New African 2005). In the Ghanaian health sector, for instance, there are more Ghanaian doctors practicing abroad than in Ghana (Adomako Ampofo 2002). It is further estimated that Ghana has lost 50 percent of its professional nurses to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom (Nyonator and Dovlo 2005). Takyiwaa Manuh (2006) has indicated that there exists a shortage of lecturers in Ghana’s higher educational institutions because many may have migrated abroad, or have not returned home after studying abroad. These movements have had several consequences both negative and positive on national development. One major area that has been looked at Dankyi • Growing Up in a Transnational Household 135 quite extensively is the loss of highly skilled migrants, the so-called brain drain (Adomako Ampofo 2002; Manuh 2005; Nyonator and Dovlo 2005; Adepoju 2007). Of particular concern is the emigration of scarce professional skills, such as doctors and engineers, who have been trained at considerable expense to the Ghanaian taxpayer and from subsidies to higher education (Cohen 2004). Most African researchers believe that highly trained and skilled human resources are being taken away faster as Africa countries can replenish them (Adepoju 2007). It has also been argued that the loss of capital through brain drain is partially recovered through remittances (Sako 2002). According to some scholars, remittances are a major source of external finance that surpasses official development assistance and foreign direct investments (Quartey...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2333-7168
Print ISSN
1536-5514
Pages
pp. 133-161
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-05
Open Access
No
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