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A report from Future of Ghana gathers the practices, views and opinions of second-generation British-Ghanaians and their approach to the development of Ghana and Africa.

A new report from UK charity, The Future of Ghana, is a pilot study in an upcoming country study series on second-generation Ghanaian diaspora groups.

The Future of Ghana is an award-winning UK registered charity with regional chapters mobilising the Diaspora community in Germany and Belgium.

The purpose of this study is to provide insight to support diaspora organisations, international organisations, governments and related agencies in understanding the remittance practices of second-generation British-Ghanaians. By gathering the practices, views and opinions of second-generation British-Ghanaians, this study aims to provide a starting point for relevant stakeholders and researchers to understand the background, motivation and intentions of second-generation British-Ghanaians to remit, its potential long-term implications for diaspora relations and engagement, policy formulation and the socio-economic development of Ghana.

Ghanaian Diaspora Agendas and Contributions

The study recognises the increasing attention given to diaspora agendas and contributions to their country of origin and according to Pearl Boateng, Head of Research for the organisation, the wish of the study’s authors was to contribute to an evidence-based dialogue on this.

“We need to start building an evidence base to have more fruitful and productive conversations. Anecdotes are important but coupled with evidence, we have a stronger case for all things relating to the diaspora and Ghana. We at Future of Ghana are passionate about data and evidence, hence we are embarking on our next study in Germany with more countries to follow.”

“We need to start building an evidence base to have more fruitful and productive conversations. Anecdotes are important but coupled with evidence, we have a stronger case for all things relating to the diaspora and Ghana.”

Remittances form a key contribution from Ghana’s diaspora. According to Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka, Chairman and CEO of Future of Ghana, "World Bank figures show Ghanaians remitted over $2billion dollars, which contributed to approximately 15% of Ghana’s GDP. We therefore see how important remittance is to national development. But, with a youth bulge and growing middle income stemmed of young professionals, if in 5 to 10 years’, this second-generation youth continues to face challenges of identity as outlined in our report and/or if systems are not put in place to engage them, a great source of finance and skills may be lost and negatively impact the economy in the future."

The aim of the report is to:

  • Review literature and draw on ideas and observations from existing research
  • Begin to build a profile of second-generation British-Ghanaians
  • Identify the ways in which second-generation British-Ghanaians engage/wish to engage with Ghana as well as opportunities and challenges for engagement
  • Recommend ways in which diaspora organisations, international organisations, the Ghanaian government and other development partners can help facilitate this desire to engage.

The study employed mixed methods design and took place from July 2017-November 2017. The three phases of the study were a desk-based literature review, online survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. 493 respondents participated in the online survey. Five focus group discussions (FGD) took place and consisted of 25 participants in total. For key informant interviews, eight participants took part.

Key findings:

  • The dominant form of engagement among second-generation British-Ghanaians is social remittance, however, a significant proportion also remit financially
    Close to half of the survey respondents remit socially. Examples varied from blogs, tourism websites, teacher training and running advocacy focused organisations. Interestingly, almost a third of second-generation British-Ghanaians remit financially but are more driven by investments and reciprocal returns as opposed to their parents who may remit out of duty, community and obligation. The average amount remitted is £101-£300 on a monthly basis (or every other month) though some participants remit £1000+ on a monthly basis. Age, gender and salary bear no impact on the amount people remit i.e. those in lower income brackets are as likely to remit as those in higher salary brackets, but identity does have an impact. Those who self-identify as British are least likely to remit. Those who identify as British-Ghanaian are most likely to remit.
  • Identity is the most powerful determinant of how second-generation British-Ghanaians engage or do not engage with Ghana
    Identity is complex and manifests as such in predicting behaviour and engagement practices. The data shows that how participants self-identify strongly correlates with their proclivity to remit financially. Language fluency and a strong sense of cultural identity are the strongest predictors of sending social remittances and those who do not speak a Ghanaian language are significantly less likely to engage in social remittances. Beyond these observable relationships, the issue of identity found in this study extends to situational identity, language, upbringing and social conditioning, the wider notion of Pan-Africanism and African diasporas as collective, the experience of mixed-heritage Ghanaians and integration into British society in comparison to first-generation Ghanaians. Whilst this was beyond the scope of the report, the prominence of this theme throughout each stage of the study necessitates further research. After identity, lack of available information, contacts and pathways to engage represented the biggest obstacle to engagement. Less than 10% of respondents stated that they had no desire to engage with Ghana.
  • Profile of who is most likely to remit

    According to the data, in terms of financial remittances, she is female, identifies as British-Ghanaian, is between 25 - 34 years old and earns between £31,000 – £40,000. She speaks at least one Ghanaian language and works in the corporate world, namely business consulting and management. She does not belong to any diaspora group and remits socially also but only half of the time.

    In terms of social remittances, statistically speaking, she is female, identifies as British-Ghanaian, is between 18-24 years old and is a full-time student. She speaks at least one Ghanaian language and belongs to a diaspora group. She engages mainly through cultural activities and also remits financially but only half of the time.
  • Education, health and entrepreneurship rank highly as areas of priority for second-generation British-Ghanaians Respondents ranked these three areas as priorities in terms of their interest in Ghana. Interest was largely rooted in concern for quality of life, empowerment and development for all Ghanaians however participants did appreciate the complexity of these issues – namely education and health. There was a consensus that entrepreneurship was the area they felt they could contribute to the most.
  • The overwhelming majority of participants would consider relocating to Ghana
    84% of participants wish to relocate to Ghana at some point in the future with just over 40% planning to do so within the next 5-10 years. In addition to this, many are already engaging with Ghana remotely and with frequent visits.
  • Almost two thirds of survey respondents do not belong to a diaspora organisation/network
    Only 38% of respondents belong to diaspora organisation or network. Irrespective of this, many second-generation British-Ghanaians engage with Ghana via financial and social remittances though the proportion who do so is lower than those who are members of a diaspora organisation. The results also found that membership of a diaspora organisation increases the likelihood of an individual remitting socially but has little effect on financial remittances.

As Pearl Boateng notes, “It’s important that we tell our own story. This report is by us i.e. second-generation Ghanaians, for us and ultimately for Ghana. FOG is passionate about a self-sustaining Ghana so how we work together and harness our collective talent is crucial for our future.

Through all of our initiatives including the Top 30 Under 30, this research and previously the WAM Campaign, we want to bridge the gap and bring the skills, talents and resources Ghanaians in Ghana have, combine it with the skills, talents and resources in the diaspora and work towards a common goal and move closer to where Ghana should be.”

To access the full report: http://futureofghana.com/

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