The socio-cultural and economic impact of refugees on the host indigenous communities in West Africa

Thesis by Kwame Boamah-Gyau

his thesis is concerned with refugees and their impact on the host community. Throughout the World, the UNHCR is not only concerned with the hosting, feeding, sheltering, clothing and educating the refugees. It is also addressing their impact on the host communities that face the consequences of their presence. In the effort to host protracted refugees, many developing host communities face various forms of socio-cultural influence and economic challenges. Previous findings from research on hosting refugees have shown that the burdens of the refugees’ presence in the host communities surpass the benefits. However, the findings of this study are rather the opposite. This study examines the socio-cultural and economic impacts of the presence of the Liberian refugees on the Buduburam community. It has revealed that the situation at the Buduburam camp is as normal as any other community in Ghana. Unlike many communities whereby refugees are restricted to the camp, the situation in Buduburam is different. The Liberian refugees move freely to any part of the community. There is a good social relation between the host community and the Liberian refugees. There have been intermarriages between the refugees and the host community. The hosts and the refugees also attend some social events like weddings, funerals and child naming ceremonies together. However, there are some minor negative developments as a result of the Liberian refugees’ presence for almost two decades in the Buduburam community. These negative impacts include poor sanitation, scarcity of land, security issues and moral degeneration. This notwithstanding, the positive impacts of the refugees’ presence on the host community outweighed the negatives. Indeed, the presence of the Liberian refugees on Gomoa-Buduburam has turned the place from a small village to an urbanized centre. The Buduburam community can boast of much better modern infrastructural development springing up all over the town after the refugees’ settlement. The study found the types of development that can be associated with the presence of the Liberian refugees to include the provision of banks, telecommunication and Internet cafés. The Buduburam community now has easy access to transportation and a big market to sell and buy their goods. There has also been an expansion of educational facilities and the provision of a clinic to the community. Finally, a police station has been provided with police on duty to maintain peace and security.

Thesis available