Over the past weeks, the world has watched on as Nigerians fight for police reform and change, with some countries across the globe protesting in solidarity.
Nigeria’s borders just like Ghana’s, are surrounded by French-speaking countries which will pose a language barrier for Nigerians should they wish to seek refuge in a neighbouring country. With Ghana being an anglophone country like theirs, they will move to Ghana for refuge which may undermine Ghana’s national security and economic development.
An economist and senior lecturer of the Department of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Lord Mensah, discusses the concerns.
“ if you look at the recent money laundering ban that we had, it is mainly because of the influx of Nigerians operating in that space who are now in Ghana. So if it continues, the tendencies that it will spill over to our part of the region is very, very high. Remember that if you look at Nigeria’s boundaries, its mainly French-speaking countries. They are like Ghana, that is why any time they move from their country to the east side of their direction, they come to Ghana because they will not be comfortable in Benin or Togo because of the language barrier, so they move straight to Ghana.”
Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people with Ghana having a population size of over 30 million people. Should the current unrest not have a peaceful resolution as soon as possible, Ghana may experience an influx of Nigerians which may jeopardize its peaceful sovereignty growth.
Already, in the country, there is an existing tension between Nigerians and Ghanaian retailers. Ghanaians have over the past years protested over Nigerians overshadowing their businesses and thus took drastic measures to lock up Nigerian retail shops in the country.
This is because current laws in the country stipulate that retail trade is the sole preserve of Ghanaians. Nigerians who come into the country may want to engage in businesses to have a source of livelihood and as such be forced to engage in lots of businesses, particularly in retail. This may raise the dangers of xenophobic attacks and position Ghana in a place of unrest.
Moreover, current amenities that are still not enough to support the Ghanaian populace will hugely be outstripped. This may lead to the resultant effect of increased social vices and a downturn in economic growth.
“if it continues, we are going to have a lot of Nigerians moving to Ghana and we don’t have the capacity to absorb them as we speak now. Look at their size, it’s a big country, so if it continues, we are going to have a lot of spillovers and effectively it can affect other economies within the sub region,” Dr. Lord Mensah said.
Dr. Lord Mensah also made it known that if the current situation is not curtailed it will undermine the smooth rollout of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He made these submissions in an interview with an Accra based radio station.
“It is going to slow things down. The essence of AfCFTA is to ensure that we inter-trade among ourselves. If you look at Nigeria, it is a very big economy with a huge impact on the African continent. Nigeria has taken over South Africa now when it comes to economic size. And so if we are going into trade and the bigger player, which is Nigeria is in trouble, then obviously it is going to affect the timing of continental trade agreement,” he said in an interview.