Cocoa industry: The introduction of cocoa in the late nineteenth century resulted in unprecedented migration of farmers around Ghana (Hill, 1963). Such migrations led to socio-economic change. According to Addo (1968) migrants influenced socio-economic change by making their skills available where they were
most needed, by bringing new sense of values and new modes of economic behaviour into established enterprises, by introducing new skills into the economic life of the receiving areas, and sometimes by opening up the possibility of profitable investment in the areas where they lived. Addae-Mensah (1983) added migrants’ influence in effecting change in their destinations. He suggested in the case of farmers in Wassa-Amenfi district that, they commanded control over property especially of large farms of cash crops and other foodstuff in the area. Other migrants from the Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Volta, as well as Gas, Akwapims and Fantis in the Sefwi area either owned farm lands bought from the Sefwi chiefs and head of families or worked as share croppers (Adu, 2005).
An example of early tension between Nigerians and local communities:
It should be observed however that agitation for deportation of “aliens” or “strangers”, as the foreign migrants were referred to by Ghanaian natives, started around the mid-20th century. In 1932, during the cocoa hold-up crisis, the Nigerian cocoa farmers in Akyem Abuakwa opposed the local cocoa hold-up led by the king of the town against the European firms 10 . This instigated a far-reaching resolution of the town at a meeting of Okyeman in 1935. Then, the traditional council urge d the colonial government to ensure that “troublemakers” (referring to the migrants) were kept out of Akyem Abuakwa. The resolution reads as follows:
- Okyeman consider that it is now time that people from Nigeria and other places should be made amenable to the customary law s of the various states in which they reside and that any act of insubordination on the part of any such strangers should, with the sanction of Government, be punished by As a follow-up to the above resolution, local business people in the town formed the National Crusade for the Protection of Ghanaian Enterprise which opposed the foreign entrepreneurs.
Debatable economic advantage: In the Ghanaian case, the expulsion ‘had a mild ameliorative effect on the temper of Ghanaians’ and a debatable economic advantage for Ghana (Brydon, 1985). Indeed, Brydon interprets the expulsions in Ghana in adverse terms since, ‘aliens took with them capital, and in addition, a large part of the Ghanaian trading nexus was destroyed’ (Brydon, 1985:564). Following the Order in 1969, the economic policies pursued in the 1970s by the National Redemption Council and the Supreme Military Council (1972-1978) and the frequent changes in government as well as the non-continuity of policies (see Addo, 1981), created an economic downturn in Ghana. According to Dzorgbo (1998:207) the country’s inflation, unemployment and underemployment figures increased; and the national currency devalued. There was a general lack of confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
Migration of Health Professionals: In the particular case of migration of health professionals (see Table 2 below), it is estimated that over half of doctors trained in Ghana have migrated. According to Mensah et al (2005), between 1999 and 2004, the total number of doctors registered in the UK and trained in Ghana, doubled from 143 to 293.3. In addition, there were 40 new registrations of Ghanaian nurses in 1998/9 and by 2003/4 an estimated cumulative total of 1021 had registered. The substantial decrease in 2004 in the number of health workers who emigrated may be attributed to the introduction of government interventions to improve the conditions of service of health workers, which included increases in basic salaries and allowances, the introduction of the additional duty hour allowance (ADHA) for health workers in 1998, incentive schemes such as housing and car loans, study leave with pay, the establishment of the Deprived Area Incentive Allowance (DAIA) and the establishment of the College of Physicians and Surgeons to provide and supervise post graduate medical training in Ghana.
Commerce: The result of these was that, in the case of commerce, traders of foreign origin were well established in market centres of Ghana’s north and in Kumasi by the beginning of the colonial era. Labor force in mining sector: Sutton (1983) corroborates Peil’s assertion and argues that, with very little from the north of Ghana and virtually none from the south, much of the labour force in Ghana’s mines in the early twentieth century were from neighbouring West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (See also Beals and Menezes, 1970; Harvey and Brand, 1974).
Other expulsions in the sub-region: Adepoju (2005:5) provides examples of some West African countries which also expelled nationals of foreign origin including Ivory Coast in 1958 and 1964, Senegal in 1967, Sierra-Leone in 1968 and Nigeria in 1983 and 1985. These examples show that a number of West African countries resorted to expulsion as an option for dealing with immigrants.
Brain Drain: The literature on international migration indicates extensive research on the emigration of labour namely skilled and unskilled or semi-skilled who moved out or greener pastures with the economic downturn in the mid 1960s. Studies on international migration also focused on the emigration of skilled professionals in the health and educational sectors for obvious developmental reasons. These movements were both within the continent and to intercontinental destinations of Europe and North America (Anarfi et al., 2000; 2003; Owusu, 2000; Kabki, 2007). In some cases, some Ghanaians returned to the countries in which they had been trained to work, while others who travelled initially for education and/or training stayed behind after their programme of study for employment (Anarfi et al., 2000; 2003). In the case of health professionals leaving the country, many studies considering the causes and the consequences of their movement and its implications to the development of the country have been done (Adepoju, 2002; Avenorgbo, 2003; Mensah et al., 2005, Bump, 2006; Manuh, 2005).
Severe economic decline: Another important reason for the expulsion order of 1969 was the economic misfortunes that befell Ghana. From the late 1960’s through the early 1970’ s, Ghana experienced severe economic decline.
- Cocoa dependent economy: It should be recalled that the Ghanaian economy was cocoa dependent; providing over 70% of foreign exchange earning s for the country. However, since the late 1950 up till 1 970, the world cocoa price witnessed a continuous decline, falling by over 75% as at This engendered an increase in the cost of living and import shortages. This was sequel to the fact that when a drop in the price of cocoa precipitated a financial crisis in 1971.
- Increased prices and massive inflation: Busia’s government raised prices of goods and increased the interest rates. He also went ahead to devalue the currency, but all these led to massive
- Foreign Debt: The action also precipitated a high foreign indebtedness which got to a record high of 600 million dollars in
- Balance of Trade Deficit: Apart from this, a recurrent balance of trade deficit also led to a balance of payment deficit which compounded the economic challenges of the
- Abandon over 8% of the country’s state farms: The decision to abandon over 8% of the country’s state farms not only pushed up prices of food items.
- Unemployment: The flawed decision to abandon state farms and companies also succeeded in increasing the unemployment rate to 9000 representing a 4% increase of unemployed Ghanaians.
Effects of the 1969 Expulsion of Aliens from Ghana
Indigenous merchants unable to fill the void: Unfortunately, when the aliens left, they took with them capital and in addition; a large part of the Ghanaian trading nexus was destroyed. The emergent Ghanaian traders thus lacked both the skills and the connections to adequately carry on the trade. A great vacuum was thus created in the retail trade network and this probably accounted for the scarcity of household goods in the remote parts of Ghana after the exit of Nigerian traders in particular, who hitherto specialized in the distribution of goods to these areas.
Downturn in cocoa sector: Another area of the economy where the adverse effect of the expulsion was strongly felt in the immediate post-expulsion period was the cocoa industry. Cocoa as an export crop is often referred to as the “life-blood” of Ghana’s economy being the major foreign exchange earner for the country. Until the late 1950’s, Ghana produced over 50% of the world’s cocoa output. But since the early part of the 1960’s, Ghana started to lose the lead. For instance, during the 1964/65 crop year, Ghana’s cocoa output formed only 38% of the world’s total. But by January 1970, Ghana’s production formed only 27% of the total world production. This already battered situation of downward slope in cocoa production became further worsened after the expulsion of aliens. Since cocoa farmers depended largely on labour supplied by alien farm labourers, the labour shortages that followed the expulsion of aliens in 1969 adversely affected Ghana’s cocoa industry. The net effect was that production declined, producer prices plummeted and farm owners ran into losses.
Mining sector: A replica of the ill-fate that befell cocoa production took place in the mining industry too. With the expulsion of alien workers, the mining industry experienced low production and reduction in their annual income.
Hard Economic times for those who stayed: As for Nigerians who were not affected by the expulsion order, hard times awaited them in the post-expulsion era in Ghana, going by the various legislations that were introduced by the government of Ghana. The two most relevant laws in this direction were the Residence Permits Compliance Order of 1970 (RPCO) and The Ghanaian Business Promotion Act (GBPA) No 334 of 1970. While the RPCO stipulates that all aliens in Ghana must obtain a permit to be able to reside in the country and even required all aliens to carry their permits on their persons wherever they went; the GBPA on its own provides more guides and control on the role of immigrants in the economic life of Ghana. Apart from the fact that the Act reserved certain sectors of the economy for its nationals, it also stipulates which categories of enterprise are categorically reserved for nationals. For example, Article II of the Act states that “no person other than a Ghanaian shall own or be part-owner of any enterprise concerned with retail or wholesale trade where the annual sales do not exceed 500,000 cedis (or equivalent)”. The Act also itemizes about thirty-seven economic activities exclusively reserved for nationals, including commercial transport by land, bakery, printing, beauty culture, manufacture of cement bricks and advertising and publicity. Furthermore, the Act prohibits aliens from trading in any market or to engage in petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk. Any alien who is operating a business enterprise is also under legal obligation to institute training schemes for Ghanaians.
From the provisions of these two laws above, it is not an overstatement to stress that Nigerian entrepreneurs in Ghana who escaped the expulsion order experienced commercial depression and hostility of different forms. This affected their traditional business of commodity distribution in two ways. The first challenge was how to raise the huge capital required for business while the second one was the stiff competition they would face with state-owned trading corporations.
Expulsion order was issued at the peak of the harvesting season: But more disturbing was the timing of the expulsion itself. The order came during the peak of the harvesting period of cocoa seeds. While the cocoa farmers were relishing in the joy of a good harvest for the season, after much hard labour and huge monetary expenses, the order to leave within fourteen days came. To many of these farmers, it was as if their world was crashing. But, they could not change the situation as most of them had no relevant papers.
Property looted: Apart from this, Nigerians expelled from Ghana also had their property looted by Ghanaian natives. In the process of enforcing the expulsion order, properties of Nigerians were thrown recklessly outside by both the security agents and natives. Some of such valuable items like radio sets were stolen by Ghanaian miscreants, amounting to losses for Nigerians. Related to this was that Nigerian traders not only had a large proportion of their goods in stock looted, but also lost their kiosks and market stalls to the Ghanaian authorities. Such markets stalls and kiosks were taken over by the Government and were later allocated to prospective Ghanaian traders.
Houses confiscated or forfeited to government: But another huge loss came the way of Nigerians who had erected houses in Ghana. It should be recollected that the affluence of Nigerian traders who had succeeded in building personal houses was a major source of the xenophobic feelings against Nigerian migrants in the build-up towards the final expulsion of aliens from Ghana. As expected therefore, such Nigerians were in a dilemma regarding their houses when the expulsion order came. It is disheartening to note that some of these proud house-owners spent all their fortunes in making life comfortable for themselves and their households. While some had no plan of a return journey back home, at least not in the near future, and thereby planning to live a life of comfort and convenience in their old age in Ghana; some had hoped to sell their houses when they finally decided to return to Nigeria. Unfortunately, both categories of house-owners had their hopes dashed. Both of them had to leave their houses behind and forfeited them to government or sell them at ridiculously cheap prices to prospective buyers.
Losses of financial power: Apart from loss of property, a majority of Nigerians deported from Ghana in 1969 also suffered losses of economic power. Since majorities were traders, farmers and labourers, their hard-earned incomes were usually kept in the banks for safety reasons. The same applies to special contributions (ajo) organized by Nigerian migrants as an economic lever, which were kept in the banks for security reasons. When the expulsion order came, however, Nigerian depositors were shocked to the marrow when most of them rushed to the bank to withdraw their savings/deposits only to be denied access to their money. This was because government had directed all banks not to honour any withdraw in the excess of two thousand pounds (£2000).
The net effect of this regulation was that a majority of Nigerians had to lose their cash apart from their houses, goods in-stock, market stalls, kiosks and farm-lands to government. It indeed amounted to a colossal loss for most of the migrants. This was even made worse where such migrants had spent a good number of years laboring to acquire wealth in the foreign land. Some of these migrants had to return home empty handed.
Economic losses: Expelled Nigerians from Ghana also suffered economic losses in the form of loss of property and economic power.
Unlawfully confiscation of property: With respect to loss of property, many of those expelled to Nigeria would never be able to calculate their losses. This was because on the average, deportees were able to estimate their individual losses at around eight thousand naira (N8,000). It was indeed a traumatic experience for most of the wealthy Nigerians. For the cocoa farmland owners, their investments of capital, labour and time was lost to the native land- owners who confiscated their cocoa farms. The story of the cocoa farm owners is indeed very pathetic. For instance, a majority of them who had spent quality time (up to about 4 or 5years) to tend their crops had to lose all their
investments in a twinkle of an eye. For some, their farms have been yielding paltry produce for some initial years, and were waiting for the bountiful harvest in the peak year when they were expelled.