Issues of South-South Migration: A Case Study of Nigerian Diasporas in Ghana

T.O. Fadayomi, O. Fayomi, G. Adejumo


In spite of the fact that intra and inter-regional migration predates the colonial period in Africa, South-South vis-à-vis South-North migration has received little attention in the international discourse on migration. Recent investigations are indicating that South-South migration is important in terms of its magnitude. For example, a World Bank study shows that about two-thirds of Sub-Saharan migrants remain within their sub-region with among the highest rates of intra-regional mobility.[1]

Beyond this general observation, information is scarce in respect of who these migrants are, their contributions to the development process of the sub-region, their opportunities and challenges within the context of regional economic communities and most importantly the need for appropriate policies and strategies to address the constraints facing this valuable resource.

It is evident from our study that Nigerians are engaged in trans-nationalism in the context of intra-regional migration in West Africa. The Nigerian Diasporas in Ghana maintain social, political and most importantly economic linkages with their home country in the process of forming transnational communities. At destination, they are organized along ethnic, religious and professional lines, which are the platforms for their interventions in the home country as remitters of ideas, funds and goods.[i]

Their altruistic posture has often served as a major household survival strategy to cushion the negative effects of unemployment, sickness and bad harvests on household members left behind by providing for their basic consumption needs, and meeting the human capital needs of the next generation in terms of education, health care and shelter. For better-off households, remittances provide capital for small businesses and small-scale industries. The collective remittances through Home Town Development and ethnic associations are sources of funding basic infrastructural facilities which benefit all households especially in small communities that may not be benefiting from local government budgets.

The evidence from the activities of Nigerian Diasporas in Ghana shows that they, as part of the Nigerian trans-nationals world-wide, can complement and deepen Nigeria’s efforts at reducing poverty and improving development at local and national levels. Therefore, the government needs to recognize this potential and factor it into its regional cooperation, especially at ECOWAS level in order to address some of the challenges and constraints facing trans-nationals in member states.

Keywords: diaspora, transnationalism, migration, development, ECOWAS

[1] The World Bank, 2011. Leveraging Migration for Africa-Remittances, Skills and Investments, Washington D.C



  1. The World Bank, Leveraging Migration for Africa-Remittances, Skills and Investments, ( Washington D.C, 2011)
  2. Addo, N.O Foreign African workers in Ghana, International Labour Review, Vol.109 (1974), No 1, cited in Adepoju. A. “Labour Migration and Employment of ECOWAS nationals in Nigeria” in Labour and Development in Nigeria, ed. Fashoyin. T (Land mark Publications Ltd, Lagos, 1988).
  3. Fadayomi, T.O, “Internal Migration and Regional Development in Nigeria” in African Population Dynamics ( Regional Institute of Population Studies, Ghana Research Monograph  No 2, 1987).
  4. Among the Anglophone West African countries under British rule, Ghana was the first to blaze the trail of development planning. Due to improvements in Cocoa exports during the 1910s, Guggisberg, the colonial governor of Ghana, decided to initiate a 10-year development program for the colony between 1920 and 1930. This program was basically an “infrastructure” plan which concentrated on transport provisions e.g. railways and roads. Other items of the program allowed for the construction of hospitals, water supply, town planning etc. The program clearly indicated that the development priority of the colonial economy of the 1920s was to make the colony a more efficient producer of raw materials rather than a recipient of improvements in social welfare (Fadayomi, T.O Social Development Strategies, Policies and Programmes in West Africa in the light of the Lagos Plan of Action, manuscript, 1988.)
  5. Patterson, Rubin,”US Diasporas and their Impacts on Homeland Technological and Socio-economic Development: How does Sub-Saharan Africa Compare?” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 4 (2009):83-123
  6. Skeldon, Ronald, “International Migration as a Tool in Development Policy: A Passing Phase”, Population and Development Review, 34 (2008),1
  7. Adepoju, Aderanti, “The Links between Intra-continental and inter-continental Migration in and from Africa” in In International Migration in and from Africa: Dimensions, Challenges and Prospects, eds PHRDA and Stockholm  Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations (CEIFO) 1996.
  8. The World Bank, Leveraging Migration for Africa-Remittances, Skills and Investments, (Washington D.C, 20110
  9. The bilateral relations between Ghana and Nigeria have been soured in recent times because the Government of Ghana was trying to limit foreigners, including Nigerians engaged in retail trade in competition with Ghanaians. The Ghana government has barred foreigners who could not invest USD 300,000 (three hundred thousand dollars) considered to be an exorbitant sum of money deterring foreigners from participating in retail trade. The bone of contention has been that the unilateral decision by the Ghanaian government to limit non-Ghanaian participation in such enterprise contravenes the protocol of the regional economic community i.e. ECOWAS, which guarantees free movement and location of economic activities among the citizens.



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