Most Ghanaian migrants migrate internally instead of migrating outside the country. More than half of internal migrants move to the southern-located capital, Accra, and the Ashanti region. The majority of migrants originate from rural areas. However, communities with higher levels of literacy, income, higher rates of subsidised medical care, better access to water and sanitation are less likely to produce migrants.
Reasons for internal migration vary, but economic incentives are key. The majority of migration is in order to find work. Other motives include education and marriage, although women are generally more likely than men to migrate for marriage.
Some forms of migration are on the rise, which is the case for young women and girls aged between 10 and 35 years migrating to Accra to work as Kayayei.
Kayayei predominantly originate from the three northern regions of the country i.e. the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions and their primary destinations are the markets of the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.
The majority of Kayayei tend to move around the age of 13-17 and stay in their destination cities for a maximum of five years. Their main motivation is economic – to provide for themselves and their family. For girls with little or no education nor formal qualifications, Kayayei work is attractive because no assets are required to begin working. Carrying goods does not require any equipment (apart from one basin in which the items are carried) or training. The informal nature of the work also makes it easy for Kayayei to leave their jobs and return home.