Better adapting migration policies to labour market needs would help Ghana’s economy, says new ILO-OECD Development Centre report


Accra, 20 June 2018 - Migration should be better integrated in labour market information and analysis, argues a joint report by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) titled How immigrants contribute to Ghana’s economy. This could amplify the impact of Ghana’s efforts to enhance the economic contribution of migration, which culminated in 2016 with the adoption of a National Migration Policy aiming to mainstream migration into Ghana’s other development policies.


The report provides an unprecedented analysis of immigrant workers’ contribution in three areas of the Ghana’s economy: labour markets, economic growth and public finance.


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 those of native-born workers, and a high proportion of foreign-born workers have a salaried job. Foreign-born workers are also well represented in fast-growing occupations. Nevertheless, some immigrant workers may displace native-born workers, and in particular female workers. Some foreign-born workers are also overqualified for the jobs they have, suggesting that skills are underutilized.


Based on the sectoral distribution of workers and their productivity 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.


Policy recommendations

According to the report, the contribution of immigrants to Ghana’s economy could be further enhanced by:

  • Systematically analysing data on migration – labour market information systems should not only be fed by regular data on foreign-born and native-born workers, but also allow for interaction between stakeholders and policymakers concerned with employment policy and migration policy.
  • 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.  



Press contacts:

For more information or to obtain a copy of the report or request an interview, journalists are invited to contact:

How immigrants contribute to Ghana’s economy is part of the joint International Labour Organisation - OECD Development Centre’s comparative project on Assessing the Economic Contribution of Labour Migration in Developing Countries as Countries of Destination that is co-financed by the European Union. The nine other countries covered by the project include: Argentina, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand.

Find out more about the project: and



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