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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 7b:
Mobility of the Highly Skilled in Ghana

Past experience in Ghana suggests that certain sectors of the country’s economy have suffered severely from shortages of manpower. For example, it is estimated that over 60 per cent of all medical doctors trained in Ghana over recent years are now working outside the country, whilst large numbers of nurses are leaving the country every month. In the past, movement of teachers to other countries in Africa have also posed significant problems for the country’s education system, although these flows now appear to have declined.

This project aims to explore in detail the nature and impact of professional mobility from Ghana, through examination of the process of emigration, and its dynamic impacts on particular sectors of the labour market. Data will initially be compiled on stocks of skills, and the level and nature of training in different sectors as well as on numbers of skilled migrants leaving the country. To do this, university/training institute and alumni records will be explored where feasible, whilst professional societies and relevant ministries will also be consulted. These will be used to create sample frames for a second phase when more detailed information on specific cohorts of skilled workers in one or two selected professions will be collected through specially designed questionnaire surveys. In the first phase, intensive and less structured interviews will also be carried out with key informants at the policy level to assess the strategies being implemented to deal with skill loss.

Key Research Questions

What is the extent of migration of the highly-skilled in Ghana? Is this a growing or declining phenomenon? Which sectors are most affected?
What causes migration of the highly-skilled? At an individual level, why do people leave? Does this express dissatisfaction with the home country, or aspirations or opportunities abroad?
What are the consequences of highly-skilled migration, for training, labour markets and development outcomes in Ghana?
What are the policy options available?



Key Theme(s)
Health and Education

Type(s) of Migration
Skilled Migration

Ghana / Africa


Ron Skeldon

John Anarfi (ISSER)
Stephen Kwankye (RIPS)

Key Activities


Analysis of university/training institute alumni and professional society records.

2. Interviews with key informants.
3. Questionnaire survey of trainees and recent graduates in selected professions.
4. Analysis and comparison with global data from project 7a.

Key Outputs

Working papers
Contributions to workshops on professional mobility in Dhaka and Accra


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With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs