- Most Africans take the risky journey abroad, particularly to Europe, in search of greener pastures. As soon as they start job, these migrants' first agenda is to send remittances to their families and loved one back home. In countries such as Ghana, remittances from the Diaspora have become vital to the economy.
Despite stiff restrictions employed by European countries, Africans continue to remit money to their countries on a daily basis. This also results in more people investing in money transfer agencies all over the continent and in Europe.
One country whose citizens remit well from abroad is the West African state of Ghana. By the year end, the country's President John Kuffuor said, remittances from Ghanaians abroad are expected to between US$ 7 and US$ 8 billion.
Already, official figures indicate that remittances in the first quarter of the year hit US$ 2 billion. Ghanaian remittances continued to increase year after year because in 2001, it recorded US$ 400 million compared to the 2005 amount of US$ 2 billion.
The huge remittances grease the country's economy as evidenced in the booming of new companies.
Ghana, a country whose independence blew a wind of change in the African continent in 1957, has about two million of its citizens residing abroad - mostly in Europe, North America and in other African countries, but also increasingly in Asia.
According to the 'Daily Graphic', President Kufuor made the disclosure at a reception organised in his honour by the Ghana mission in Beijing at the weekend. He used the occasion to tell his country's community in China that they are doing well.
Mr Kufuor said the high remittance is an indication of the confidence that Ghanaians reposed in the economy and his government's meaningful programmes and policies. He added that his government is making every effort to improve domestic revenue mobilisation to secure the much-needed resources for accelerated national development.
Undoubtedly, the Ghanaian economy has been reeling very well since 2001 when its internally-generated revenue amounted to four trillion cedis (US$ 450 million). This shot up to 26 trillion cedis (US$ 2.8 billion) in 2005 and it is expected to hit 37 trillion cedis (US$ 4.0 billion) in 2006. Mr Kufuor boasted of a government that is positioning its economy on a path that would enable it to become the preferred investment destination in Africa.
Ghana boasts of its positive records in good governance, respect for human rights and sound macro-economic programmes that provide incentives for investment. This, according to the President, is yielding dividends for the country.
However, the Ghanaian currency, the cedi, is among the weakest currencies in Africa and it rated almost one to ten thousand against the US dollar. Mr Kufuor said high inflation and interest rates, which exacerbated the weakness of the cedi, had been halted. He said the cedi is now a commodity to be proud of since it is quoted in Euro Bond Market.
"Our nation's image had steadily improved before its development partners, the international financial authorities and investors," he said, adding that Standard and Poors, a renowned international credit rating company had given Ghana a B+ credit rating, putting the nation's credit rating at par with Brazil.
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