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'All the money I raised, I raised from Ghana': Understanding reverse remittance practice among Ghanaian migrants in the UK and their relatives in Ghana

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm
Oxford Department of International Development, Mansfield Road
Seminar Room 3

Part of the 'Migration to, through and from Africa: An African conversation' series, convened by Robtel Neajai Pailey and Marie Godin.

Speaker: Geraldine Adiku, University of Oxford

Remittances have acquired considerable significance on the agendas of development establishments, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the turn of the century. The widespread attention that remittances sent from ‘developed’ to ‘developing’ countries have received has, however, ignored the fact that many remittances are sent in the opposite, or reverse, direction. Such reverse remittances can be conceptualised as transfers, which move from poor migrant origin areas to migrants in wealthy destination areas. This practice has been largely under-represented in what is now an extensive remittance literature. I investigate the other side of transnational economic exchanges between migrants and their relatives. Using a matched sampling methodological approach, I interviewed 70 Ghanaian migrants in the UK and 51 of their relatives in Ghana who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. This research finds that transnational economic transactions between migrants and their relatives are driven by their differential access to various forms of capital and their motivation for migration. These factors influence whether a migrant will send remittances or receive reverse remittances instead.


Scholars of African descent have increasingly contributed to the growing body of knowledge on African migratory flows, even though Africans have often been depicted as ‘objects’ rather than ‘subjects’ of scholarly inquiry. In this seminar series, we ‘reverse the gaze’ by showcasing cutting edge research conducted by African scholars who examine migration to, through and from Africa.

From early career researchers to more established academics, the presenters in our series demonstrate the geographic diversity of African migration patterns by showcasing how Africans on the move are part and parcel of broader processes of social, political and economic development across the continent and beyond. In doing this, they prove that “Africans have always produced knowledge about their continent, even though their contributions have been ‘preferably unheard’ in some cases and ‘deliberately silenced’ in others” (Pailey, 2016).

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Jenny Peebles
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