International Remittances, Poverty and Inequality : a Case Study of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria (West Africa)

Promoting regional migration has been one of the most important goals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over the past three decades. To this end, the members of the union have approved conventions and supported the use of ECOWAS travel certificates, the adoption of a single passport and the introduction of a multi-country visa. In April 2000, the heads of state agreed to foster free movement of goods and persons across the borders of member countries and to abolish the mandatory residency permit. Inter-country migration is thus a reality in the region, with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria among the most active players.

This three-country study will examine regional (West African) and international (North-South) migration, remittances made through official and unofficial channels, and the impact of remittances on poverty and income inequality. Researchers will gather both quantitative and qualitative information. The first will be obtained through analysis of National Living Standards Survey (NLSS) data from the three countries, and the second from exit interviews with users of Western Union, MoneyGram and other money transfer agencies. The idea is to obtain a better understanding of the effect of remittances and diasporic philanthropy on poverty and income inequality; to inform policy by discussing the findings with policymakers, civil society organizations and other stakeholders; and to build capacity for migration research in the region.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, October 1, 2010

End Date

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


24 months

IDRC Officer

Mbiekop Ouahouo, Flaubert

Total funding

CA$ 350,000


Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Dr. William M. Fonta


University of Nigeria

Institution Country


Project Leader

Dr. Silvère Y. Konan


Centre ivoirien de recherches économiques et sociales

Institution Country

Ivory Coast

Institution Website

Project Leader

Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong


International Institute for Advanced Studies

Institution Country


Institution Website