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Labour Minister: Ghana committed to reduce illegal migration

Ignatius Baffour Awuah concedes that every country leverages the expertise of foreigners to develop but says illegal migration must not be encouraged

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, has said that the government is committed to building a strong economy to help reduce illegal migration by Ghanaians to other countries.

He conceded that every country leverages the expertise of foreigners to develop but said illegal migration must not be encouraged.

“What we should not be encouraging is using irregular and illegal means to achieve your goals in migration.

“In West Africa, for instance, most of our citizens risk walking through the desert to the Mediterranean to reach Europe. In the process, most of them lose their lives,” he said.

The minister was speaking during a working visit to the ministry by the director general of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert F Houngbo.

Root cause

Baffour Awuah said the best way to deal with illegal migration is to address the root cause, which is the lack of jobs.

“Many people are distressed and they think they do not have hope locally, because they are not finding jobs, and even if they find jobs the incomes are very low,” he said.

He said the government has made economic development a top priority to ensure that more jobs and opportunities are created.

However, he acknowledged that the Ghanaian economy faces difficulties because of recent global events. He urged the public and the investment sector to support the government in its drive to build a strong economy.


The minister urged investors to put their resources into all sectors of the economy to create more job opportunities. For instance, he said, the cocoa industry (especially cocoa processing) is a lucrative investment choice that will help Ghana attain its development objectives.

“To boost our local economy, there’s the need for investors to invest in cocoa processing locally so that, at least, if it is not 100% processing, there will be some processing to provide more jobs and add value to our cocoa,” he said.

He said the country has a youthful, vibrant and educated population, and its skills and knowledge base has further been enhanced by the government’s Free Senior High School policy. The youth, he said, are ready and eager to work but unfortunately there are not enough jobs for them.

He added that the government is exploring the possibility of forging partnerships with other countries under which Ghanaians can work and return with new expertise to develop the country.

“We want to take advantage of partnerships and explore the possibility of finding jobs in other countries,” Baffour Awuah said.

Partnerships are key

“It should not be jobs that will make them stay in your country permanently. They will work and learn and come back to implement those things,” he said.

Houngbo said illegal migration is a serious matter that must be addressed through concerted partnerships and collaboration between governments and state agencies.

He commended Ghana for its efforts at both the national and international levels to deal with migration- and labour-related challenges.

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