Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, on Friday said remittances from migrants had positively contributed to leveraging government policies, instituted to achieve poverty reduction and economic empowerment of the citizenry.
He said: “Remittances from migrants have recently begun to outstrip Official Development Assistance to many developing countries, with Ghana as one of the eloquent examples. Remittances from Ghanaians abroad have in recent times played a very significant role in creating diverse source of livelihoods and capital for many Ghanaian families.”
Alhaji Mumuni was speaking at a forum to mark International Migrants Day in Ghana on the theme: “Promoting the Benefits of Migration for Development.”
International Migrants Day is celebrated on every December 18, as a platform to raise the necessary awareness on the rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants as well as their contribution to socio-economic development.
He noted that migration had other developmental impacts that needed to be given equal attention including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from emigrants back to their countries of origin, tourism, philanthropy, fund-raising for political candidates or other causes.
The President Atta-Mills led administration, he said, had therefore restructured Ghana’s foreign policy objectives to be people centred.
He said Ghana remained committed to the ideals of the United Nations to refocus the attention of the world community to viewing migration and development as two sides of the same coin.
“Ghana prides herself in celebrating this day (International Migrants Day) as an important beneficiary of the fruits of migration and would work with all relevant stakeholders to deepen the understanding and secure the rights of migrants both at home and abroad,” he added.
Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, talked about the Global Migration Group, a group consisting of 14 UN agencies, the International Organisation for Migration and the World Bank, which adopted a joint statement in September at the Global Forum on Migration and Development to underscore the need to protect the human rights of all migrants.
She urged countries that had not yet ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and their Families to do so and join efforts to re-affirm the fundamental principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ms Dyane Epstein, Chief of Mission at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ghana, pointed out that there were tremendous potential financial benefits to ensuring that migration was well managed.
“The World Bank estimates that if countries with declining populations allowed their workforce to grow by only three per cent by admitting an additional 14 million migrant workers between 2001 and 2025, the world would be 356 billion dollars a year better off – with the majority of these funds flowing to developing countries,” she said.
Ms Epstein said it was estimated that there were roughly 214 million international migrants worldwide, 182 million of which lived in developed countries and noted that there was no longer a single State that could claim to be untouched by human mobility.
She extended the IOM’s appreciation for the role Ghana Government had played in initiating the process of developing a comprehensive migration and development policy as well as implementing a wide range of activities to promote the benefits of migration for development.
“Migration is neither an obstacle to development nor a magic wand for its achievement, but if managed effectively, migration could be greatly beneficial to countries of both origin and destination,” she added.