In Germany, the Ghanaian diaspora is the largest migrant group from sub-Saharan Africa. For the most part, Ghanaian immigrants have come to Germany since the 1970s as asylum-seekers or as part of family reunification. In the meantime, there is a large number of young second and third-generation Ghanaians who are small children. The living and income situation of many immigrants from Ghana in Germany is characterised by employment in the low-income sector and by unemployment. Many Ghanaian immigrants in Germany have been demoted to lower-skilled jobs as a result of the migration process, and their hopes for promotion through education and training have remained unfulfilled.
For development and migration-policy-related reasons, very few educational migrants with a German university degree from Ghana have settled permanently in Germany. However, after their return to their country of origin, many graduates of German universities maintain contact to their specialities through DAAD’s alumni work, church-sponsored scholarship programmes and as part of the German-Ghanaian returnee organisation. They also participate in continuing education courses and networking meetings and contribute to the transfer of know-how and technology between Germany and Ghana on a permanent basis.
The Ghanaian diaspora has a high level of self-organisation. In addition to informal, often ethnically oriented groups and the Ghana Unions, the churches serve as both central points of contact for community life in the Ghanaian diaspora as well as intermediaries for transnational connections and transfer activities.
Membership in more than one of the various organisations on the part of the Ghanaian immigrants leads to well-functioning communication and networking among the migrant self-organisations.
Professional project and lobbying work by the Ghanaian diaspora requires a certain amount of capacity and financial support and cannot be achieved through volunteer work alone. While the establishment of viable structures for cooperation is supported by the Ghanaian embassy and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, there has not been any extensive financial support to date. Umbrella organisations such as the UGAG or the Ghana Council e.V., which is in the process of being founded, contribute to networking and exchange.
The members of the Ghanaian diaspora send remittances, carry out a wide range of non-profit and private sector activities and are engaged in the transfer of know-how and technology. With their support, they contribute to improving their families’ income situation and standard of living, as well as the training and education of the up-and-coming generation in Ghana. They help to further expand the social and economic infrastructure of their places and regions of origin. Some highly skilled migrants with Ghanaian roots use their specialist expertise to promote innovations in their areas of specialisation, both in Ghana and in other African countries. In the areas of trade and forwarding, Ghanaians are the market leaders in the African diaspora in Germany and thus constitute an important potential for continued expansion of the trade relations between Germany and Ghana and between the continents of Africa and Europe.
The possibilities for future engagement that is relevant for development policy are dependent on continued growing confidence in transparent political and administrative and market-based structures and on the financial resources available to the migrants. A central prerequisite for private sector engagement is also access to information through suitable consulting authorities who can disseminate know-how based on business experience and which are particularly knowledgeable about the profile and market requirements of small and microenterprises.
Full version see http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/en-ghanaian-diaspora-2009.pdf