Thoughts on World Bank research project on Migration Patterns of Ghana’s Best and Brightest

Earlier today, I received this email from one of my favorite people, Paa. He mentioned a study that the World Bank conducted about Ghanaian student migration abroad. I thought his thoughts were super and felt you all should know. Hence, we feature our first guest blog entry and who else to choose from than my favoritest buddy? Here's what Paa had to say.

I find the results to be unrevealing since it merely concludes that Ghana doesn't lose much from having a large portion of its 'brightest' formally-trained bɔgas spend their productive years abroad. Note that the survey only asked 238 people for their opinions so take care in extrapolating the results.

The data points themselves are more interesting:
- 47% of all Ghana university grads live abroad.
- there are nearly 3 times as many Ghanaians living in the US than the UK (the 2nd top destination)
- on average each bɔga makes about $74k every year
- on average each bɔga sends about $5k to Ghana every year
- the value of the cash those who live abroad make in their entire working life is greater $1m
- there is no significant difference in income by age group for those who left and return to Ghana and those stayed at home all the time [it seems this is for people who return to find some job]
- a lot of people return to Ghana when they're over 45years

These facts make it seem as if young people prefer being abroad because their jobs abroad pay them much more. It doesn't address those who start a business (who are more important to Ghana as a country than those who merely want a job).

It also seems that the folks who stay at home do not benefit all that much from those abroad. Given that the average per capita income of the USA is around $50k, you can see that our surveyed bɔgas are definitely in the higher income brackets than their host country and have at least $70k-50k=24k/yr to invest roughly speaking. They send *only* $5k home (which probably seems a lot to the folks in Ghana). If there are any Ghana-based finance entrepreneurs/policy-makers lurking on this list, it looks like you could get folks abroad to save more of their free cash in Ghana (it helps the cedi economy even if it's not spent in case you're wondering why).

Enjoy and ruminate some more on this if you wish.
paa.kwesi Odadee '98


This is the info sent by David McKenzie of the Development Research Group, World Bank

We attach here a specific summary of the results from Ghana.

The World Bank's facebook site has a discussion forum of the results:

More general summaries of the full work in 5 countries are as follows:
1) A non-technical summary of the findings is provided in this Vox column:

2) A blog on the findings is on the World Bank's migration blog:

3) The formal academic paper looking at the consequences of
high-skilled migration is at:


Popular posts from this blog

Learnt how to say "Thank You" in 23 African languages

Learnt how to say "Happy birthday" in 13 African languages

My 10 favorite Ghanaian gospel songs