ECLM Project

How Immigrants Contribute to Ghana's Economy

A joint report by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), How Immigrants contribute to Ghana's economy, demonstrates the economic contribution of these immigrants and makes recommendations regarding the enhancement of this contribution.

This joint report by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) provides an analysis of immigrant workers’ contribution in three areas of the Ghana’s economy: labour markets, economic growth and public finance, and makes recommendations to enhance this contribution.

Immigrants tend to be well integrated in labour markets in terms of both the quantity and the quality of employment. Employment rates of immigrants are close to the average, and a high proportion of immigrants have a salaried job, often in fast-growing occupations. Nevertheless, some immigrant workers may displace native-born workers, in particular female workers. Some foreign-born workers are also overqualified for their jobs, suggesting that skills are underutilized.

Based on the sectoral distribution and education of workers in 2010, the contribution of immigrants to GDP that year is estimated at 1.5%, just below their share in employment (1.6%). The report illustrates a number of mechanisms through which they contribute to the Ghanaian economy, using qualitative studies in the trade and mining sectors.

According to the report, in 2013, the latest year for which data is available, immigrants made a positive and larger net fiscal contribution than the native-born population (on a per capita basis). This is mostly because the government spends less on average on immigrants than on native-born individuals.

The contribution of immigrants to Ghana’s economy could be further enhanced by:
• Systematically analysing data on migration – labour market information systems should fed by regular data on foreign-born and native-born workers.
• Enhancing the capacity of government agencies dealing with migration - by strengthening accountability mechanisms, capacity building and training.
• Implementing additional programmes focusing on migrants – such as improving the outreach of skills transfer programmes and ensuring the recognition of skills acquired abroad.