Journal of African Studies and Development
Subscribe to JASD
Full Name*
Email Address*

Article Number - 9DBB69959665

Vol.8(6), pp. 67-80 , August 2016
ISSN: 2141-2189

 Total Views: 0
 Downloaded: 0

Full Length Research Paper

Drivers of north-south migration in the Wa West District: Economic returns or migrants’ sub-culture

Elijah Yendaw*
  • Elijah Yendaw*
  • Department of Community Development, University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Francis Dakyaga
  • Francis Dakyaga
  • Department of Community Development, University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Augustine Tanle
  • Augustine Tanle
  • Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Anthony Mwinilanaa Tampah-Naah
  • Anthony Mwinilanaa Tampah-Naah
  • Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

 Received: 11 April 2016  Accepted: 17 June 2016  Published: 31 August 2016

Copyright © 2016 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

In Ghana, three regions (Upper West, Upper East and Northern) have the highest proportion of voluntary out-migrants but the percentage share of the population of these regions together has been less than 20.0% since 1970. This phenomenon is due to north-south migration which has been widely attributed to low socio-economic development and unfavourable physical characteristics in these regions. The study examines the main drivers of out-migration from the Wa West District (WWD). Using mixed method approach, 120 respondents were surveyed while 12 key informants were interviewed in six selected communities. The results showed that both economic returns and migrants’ sub-culture were the factors that determine out-migration of young people from the WWD. In particular, sub-cultural values/attributes such as quest for modern lifestyles, improved physical appearances, adoption of day/popular southern names and enhanced family/self status were the key factors shaping out-migration in the study area. The study further revealed that job availability and modern lifestyles were the main factors that influenced migrants’ choice of destinations in southern Ghana. The government, through the Wa West District Assembly, the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and other development partners should rigorously promote socio-economic development in the north to reduce out-migration in the WWD.

Key words: Economic returns, migrants’ sub-culture, north-south migration, Ghana.

Abdul-Korah GB (2006). Where is not home? Dagaaba migrants in the Brong-Ahafo Region, 1980 to present. Afr. Affairs 106(422):71-94.


Abur-sufian AM (1994). Migration of Northern Women to Accra: A Case Study of those Engaged in Porterage (KAYA YO) Business. Unpublished Dissertation Presented to the Department of Sociology, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast.


Ackah C, Medvedev D (2010). Internal Migration in Ghana: Determinants and Welfare Impacts. Policy Research Working Paper, the World Bank Africa Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit.


Adepoju A (2004). Patterns of migration in West Africa. A paper presented at an International conference on migration and development in Accra, September 14-16, 2014.


Adepoju A(2009). Migration Management in West Africa within the context of ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the Common Approach on Migration: Challenges and Prospects, in OECD and Sahel and West Africa Club, Regional Challenges of West African Migration: African and European Perspectives, OECD Publishing.


Agyemang I, Raqib SA (2013). Rural-Urban Migration and Rural Community Development: A Case of Kpongu community of Upper West Region of Ghana. Afr. J. Hist Cult. 5(4):72-77.


Adegoke IA, Remi AJ, Nurain O (2011). An Appraisal of the Factors Influencing Rural Urban Migration. J. Sustain. Dev. 4(3):136-140.


Ahmadian S RM, Shah MI (2011). Iranian Entrepreneurs in Malaysia: Reasons for their Migration. World Appl. Sci. J. 13(9):2075-2081.


Anderson L (2002). Rural-urban Linkages in Bolivia: Advantages and Disadvantages. Institutode investigaciones Socio-Economicas, Universidad Catolica Boliviana.


Anarfi JK, Awusabo-Asare K, Nsowah-Nuamah NNN (1999). Push and pull factors of international migration: Country report. Ghana, Brussels: European Commission.


Anarfi J, Kwankye S, Ababio O, Tiemoko R (2003). Migration from and to Ghana:A background paper. Brighton, UK: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation, and Poverty, University of Sussex.


Ardayfio-Schandorf E, Awumbila M (2005). Migration, Vulnerability and Poverty of Female Porters in Accra, Ghana. In: Awusabo-Asare et al.(ed.), The changing Faces of Poverty in Ghana: Proceedings of the 'NUFU' Workshop University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast. pp. 23-33.


Arhin K (1978). Gold Mining and Trading Among the Ashanti of Ghanea. J. des Africaniles. 48(1).


Awumbila M (2007). Internal Migration, Vulnerability and Female Porters in Accra, Ghana. 


Awumbila M, Ardayfio-Schandorf E (2008). Gendered Poverty, Migration and Livelihood Strategies of Female Porters in Accra, Ghana. Norwegian J. Geo. 62:171-179.


Awumbila MA, Osman DM, Badasu T, Bosiakoh A, Tetteh Ek (2009). Socio-Cultural Dimensions of Migration in Ghana. Centre for Migration Studies Technical Paper Series (forthcoming), University of Ghana, Legon.


Boahen AA (1966). Topics in West African History. London: Longman.


Bosiakoh AT, Tuota AC, Marfo OS (2014). The Dynamics of North-South Migration in Ghana: Perspectives of Nandom migrants in Accra. Ghana. J. Econ. 2:97-114.


Caldwell JC (1968). Determinants of rural-urban migration in Ghana. Popul. Stud. 22:361-377.


Chakravarty D, Chakravarty I (2012). When daughters migrate and mothers do not: Girl children's paid outside work in West Bengal, India. SOAS Department of Economic Working Paper Series No 175, SOAS, University of London.


Crawford T (1973). Beliefs about Birth Control: A Consistency Theory Analysis. In: Culler, J. (1976) Saussure, Fontana.


European Union (2006). Ghana Migration Profile. European Union Ghana, University of Cape Coast (2007). Special Congregation for the Conferment of Honorary Degrees, University of Cape Coast, November 10.


Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) (2012). 2010 Population and Housing Census Report. Accra: GSS.


Harris J, Todaro M (1970). Migration,Unemployment and Development: A Two-Sector Analysis. Am. Econ. Rev. 60:126-142.


Harris J, Todaro M (1976). Internal migration in developing countries. Geneva: Int. Labour Org. pp. 361-402


Hashim I (2007). Independent Child Migration and Education in Ghana, Dev. Change. 38(5):911-931.


Jedwab R (2013). Urbanization without Industrialization: Evidence from Consumption Cities in Africa. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Economics, George Washington University.


Kees Van Der G. (2010). Local Perceptions of Migration from North-West Ghana. Africa 80(4):596-613.


Kubon B (2004). The Effect of Rural Out-Migration on Agriculture in Salaga (East Gonja) District-A Case of Kpandai. Unpublished Undergraduate Long Essay submitted to the Department of Geography and Resource Development, university of Ghana, Legon.


Kusakari Y, Asubonteng KO, Jasaw GS, Dayour F, Dzivenu T, Lolig V, Donkoh S, Obeng F, Gandaa B, Kranjac-Berisavljevic G (2014). Farmers' Perceived Effects of Climate Change on Livelihoods in Wa West District, Upper West Region of Ghana. J. Disaster Res. 9:516-528.


Kwankye OS, Anarfi JK, Tagoe AC, Castaldo A (2007). Coping Strategies of Independent Child Migrants from Northern Ghana to Southern Cities. Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS), Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Sussex Centre for Migration Research.


Kwankye SO, Anarfi JK, Tagoe CA, Castaldo A (2009). Independent North-South child migration in Ghana: the decision making process. Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, University of Sussex Working Paper T-29.


Kwankye SO, Anarfi JK, Tagoe CA, Castaldo A (2009). Independent north-south child migration in Ghana: the decision making process. pp. 8-10.


Lee E. S (1966). A Theory of Migration. Demography. 3(1):47-57.


Mabogunje A. L (1970). Systems Approach to a Theory of Rural-Urban Migration. Geo. Anal. 22(2):139-191.


Manuh T (2001). Ghanaian Migrants in Toronto, Canada: Care of Kin and Gender Relations. Res. Rev. 17:17-26.


Medvedev D, Ackah C (2010). Internal Migration in Ghana: Determinants and Welfare Impacts. Policy. Res. Work. Paper, 5273.


Mills BF, Hazarika G (2001). The Migration of Young Adults from Non-Metropolitan Counties. Am. J. Agric. Econ. 83(2):329-340.


Mensah-Bonsu A (2003). Migration and environmental pressure in


Meier B (2005). Friendship and Social Peace among Northern Migrants in Accra/Tema. Legon. J. Sociol. 2(1):55-80.


Nabila J (1975). Depopulation in Northern Ghana: Migration of the Frafra People. In: A. David S, Laing E, Addo NO (eds) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Population Studies. Legon, Univ. Ghana. pp. 70-83.


Nakosteen RA, Zimmer M (1980). Migration and Income: The Question of Self Selection. South Econ. J. 46(3):840-851.


Oppong C (1967). Local Migration in Northern Ghana. Ghana J. Sociol. 3(1):1-16.


Reed EH, Andrzejewski SC, White JM (2010). Men's and Women's Migration in Coastal Ghana: An event history analysis. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.


Riisøen KH, Hatløy A, Bjerkan L (2004). Travel to Uncertainty: A Study of Child Relocation in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali. FAFO Report 440. Norway: FAFO.


Rogoff B, Paradise RK, Mejia AR, Correa-Chavez M, Angelillo C (2003). Firsthand learning through intent participation. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 54:175-203.


Songsore J (2003). Towards a Better Understanding of Urban Change: Urbanization, Natural Development and Inequality in Ghana. Accra: Ghana Universities Press.


Songsore J, Denkabe A (1995). Challenging Rural Poverty in Northern Ghana: The Case of the Upper-West Region. Trondheim: Universitetet I Trondheim, Senter for Miljo Og Utvikling.


Sulemana M (2003). Assessing the Socio-Economic Impact of Rural-Urban Migration from the Community Perspective: A Case Study of Savelugu-Nanton District, Ghana. Unpublished thesis submitted to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.


Synnove BS (1999). Migration and human development: A case study of female migration to Accra, Ghana. Bull Ghana Geogr. Assoc. 21:157-164.


Tanle A (2003). Rural-Urban migration of females from the Wa district to Kumasi and Accra: A case study of the kaya yei phenomenon. An unpublished M. Phil. thesis presented to the department of geography and tourism, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast.


Tabachnick BG, Fidell LS (2010). Using Multivariate Statistics (4th ed.). New York: Happer Collins.


Tanle A, Awusabo-Asare K (2007). The Kaya yei phenomenon in Ghana: female migration from the upper west region to Kumasi and Accra. Oguaa. J. Soc. Sci. 4(2):139-164.


Tanle A (2010). Livelihood status of migrants from the northern savannah zone resident in the Obuasi and Techiman Municipalities. A Ph.D. Thesis submitted to the Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana.


Tanle A (2003). Rural-Urban Migration of Females from the Wa District to Kumasi and Accra. A Case Study of the Kayayei Phenomenon,


Todaro MP, Smith SC (2003). Economic Development. Boston: Addison Wesley.


Todaro PM, (1997). Determinant of labor Migration Decision: The case of East Java. Indonesia: Kassel University Press.


Twumasi-Ankrah K (1995). Rural-Urban Migration and Socioeconomic Development in Ghana: Some Discussions. J. Soc. Dev. Afr. 10(2):13-22.


Geest Van der Geest K, Vrieling A, Dietz T (2010). Migration and environment in Ghana: a cross-district analysis of human mobility and vegetation dynamics. Environ. Urban. 22(1):107-124.


Villarreal M (1998). Adolescent fertility: Socio-cultural issues and programme implications. Sustainability Development Department, Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations Organization.


Wa West District Assembly (2014). Wa West District Profile. 


Whitehead A, Hashim I (2005). Children and Migration. Paper presented as Background for the DIFD Migration Team.


World Food Programme (2012). Ghana Comprehensive Food Security & Vulnerability Analysis Focus on Northern Ghana. Ghana: World Food Programme.


Wouterse F (2010). Internal Migration of Rural Services provision in Northern Ghana.International Food Policy Research Institute Discussion Paper 00952.


Yelsang DF (2013). Agricultural Land Use Conflict between Landlords and Migrant Farmers in Ghana: An Examination of Issues Affecting Dagara Migrants in the Brong Ahafo Region. Eur. Sci. J. 9(29):1857-7881.


Yendaw E, Tanle A, Kumikyereme A (2013). Socio-economic Status of International Return Migrants to the Berekum Municipality, Ghana. Int. J. Bus. Soc. Sci. 4(10):272-284.


Zelinsky, W. (1971). The Hypothesis of the Mobility Transition. Geogr Rev. 61(2):219-249.


Zeng G (1993). A Study of Dagaaba Migrants in Accra. B.A. Long Essay presented to the Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Legon.



APA Yendaw, E., Dakyaga, F., Tanle, A., & Tampah-Naah, A. M. (2016). Drivers of north-south migration in the Wa West District: Economic returns or migrants’ sub-culture. Journal of African Studies and Development, 8(6), 67-80.
Chicago Elijah Yendaw, Francis Dakyaga, Augustine Tanle and Anthony Mwinilanaa Tampah-Naah. "Drivers of north-south migration in the Wa West District: Economic returns or migrants’ sub-culture." Journal of African Studies and Development 8, no. 6 (2016): 67-80.
MLA Elijah Yendaw, et al. "Drivers of north-south migration in the Wa West District: Economic returns or migrants’ sub-culture." Journal of African Studies and Development 8.6 (2016): 67-80.

Subscription Form