Chinese Migration to Ghana: Challenging the Orthodoxy on Characterizing Migrants and Reasons for Migration

  • Joseph Kofi Teye University of Ghana
Keywords: Chinese, migration, characteristics of migrants, drivers of migration, Ghana


While there is evidence that Chinese migration to Africa has increased in recent years, there is a general paucity of data on the total number of Chinese migrants living in African countries and their sociodemographic characteristics. The reasons for this situation include challenges associated with capturing immigrants in Africa censuses, lack of robust sampling frames to draw representative samples from immigrant populations, high level of irregular migration, and weak migrants tracking systems. Relying on qualitative data and quantitative survey, based on an innovative sampling technique, this paper examines the migration of Chinese migrants to Ghana. The findings challenge simplistic narratives that present the Chinese migrants as a homogenous group. Despite the general perception that Chinese migrants in Ghana are undocumented and lack higher education qualifications, our findings reveal that most Chinese migrants are highly educated persons with legal documentation. While the existing literature focuses on economic push and pull factors of migration to Ghana, the paper demonstrates the importance of social networks, economic potentials and peaceful environment in driving migration to Ghana. Based on these findings, we strongly recommend the need for an informed narrative on Chinese migration to Africa by governments, media, and academics to deal with the misconceptions and generalizations.