What’s the Ghana-Austria Connection??
What would I like to know about Ghana? That’s a question I asked myself when I saw that Ghana Studies would be the journal of the month in June. I looked at the current issue, v. 18 (2015), and saw Michael Perry Kweku Okyerefo’s ““I Am an Austro-Ghanaian”: Citizenship and Belonging of Ghanaians in Austria”. I know that immigration is an important issue globally, that there are Africans in many European countries, but Ghanaians in Austria? That sounds intriguing. It’s not your standard story about immigrants to France from former French colonies in Africa or immigrants to Great Britain from former British colonies in Africa. What’s the connection between Ghana and Austria?
Okyerefo writes that the migration of Ghanaians to Austria began in 1957 at the urging of President Kwame Nkrumah, who wanted students to study overseas and return to help build a newly independent Ghana. The number of Ghanaian students and professionals in Austria remained low for many years, but increased with the addition of refugees seeking asylum in the later years of the 20th century. The number of Ghanaians in Austria is still small (as of 2014) with slightly over 1200 among a total population of 8.5 million. Some of these people have become permanent residents or citizens of Austria. To what extent have they become Austrian? That’s the question that is explored in this article.