Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remittances from Ghanaians abroad higher than international aid to country

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Remittances from Ghanaians abroad is a major part of the country’s economy, available figures show.

And even though Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) or international aid is an important source of external finance for the government budget, the amount remitted into the country is above the total amount of ODA, consisting of loans and grants from donors.

Many of Ghana’s donors having realised that all non-income Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are likely to be missed, scaled-up their ODA to Ghana in recent years. ODA now accounts for about 42% of the national budget.

In 2009, the Bank of Ghana reports show that remittance inflows amounted to $1.6 billion, higher than the World Bank’s recorded $1.5 billion and almost 10 times the $114 million recorded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The significance of these citizens living abroad cannot be overlooked, as there are over 500,000 Ghanaians living in the UK alone and about 1000 Ghanaians doctors living and working in the US. There are Ghanaians living and working almost in every corner of the world in various capacities who send money to relatives back home.

In 2010, remittances or private unrequited transfers (net) in the year amounted to $2.12 billion, the World Bank Ghana Country office told And that amount exceeds the total volume of ODA that the country received in that year.

According to figures provided to by the Public Relations Office of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, in 2010 the total amount of ODA the country received was $1.8 billion.

The breakdown as provided by the Ministry is as follows: Grants – $612 million; and Loans - $1,242 billion.

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