Political Participation of the Ghanaian Diaspora in Accra and London

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

Jamilla Hamidu, International Organization for Migration
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Jamilla Hamidu - Political Participation of the Ghanaian Diaspora in Accra and London

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in African diasporas as agents for development in their country of origin, through high remittances from Africans in diaspora and the high exude of highly skilled Africans opting to stay outside of the continent. This economic and human capital resource of Africans in the diaspora has led the African Union to classify African diaspora as the 6th region of the continent, in recognition of their numbers and the importance they have outside of Africa. Politically, very few African governments engage their diaspora within national politics. Countries such as Senegal, Mali and Benin have always had strong ties with their diaspora and regard them as an important component both politically and economically, but some other African countries such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Ghana, among others, have long regarded their diasporas only as economic, not political, agents. Indeed, they are sometimes regarded as a threat to national security.

This paper will address the case study of the Ghanaian diaspora and their political participation in Accra and in London. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act (ROPA) which was passed in parliament in 2006, was meant to constitutionally give Ghanaians in the diaspora the right to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections outside Ghana, but in practice Ghanaians in the diaspora have not been able vote since this amendment was passed. Subsequent governments have not put any measures in place to ensure that Ghanaians in the diaspora exercise their franchise. Why this lack of interest from the government when it comes to engaging the Ghanaian diaspora in local and national politics? Is it a political strategy to sideline the diaspora vote by not implementing the ROPA amendment? Or is it that the Ghanaian diaspora themselves do not show any interest in local politics and therefore do not engage in politics when they are outside of Ghana? This presentation will focus on recent fieldwork conducted in Accra and in London to ascertain, what constitute the Ghanaian diaspora? Who are they and where do they live both in London and Accra? How do they organize themselves politically in both London and in Accra? And which social categories are inclined to participate in Politics both in Ghana and England?

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Contact email: ch37@soas.ac.uk