Having Your Children Abroad and Building Houses in Africa for Them


Mr. Charles Odoi is my client and until recently, Mr Odoi was sure that his 3 children (2 boys and a girl) were going to somehow relocate to Ghana one day to enjoy the 6-bedroom house he was building at Amasaman in Accra.

Now that Mr. Odoi is 69 years old and still living in the UK, his children (all born in the UK) have made it clear that they do not intend to ever relocate to Ghana or even come to Ghana for frequent holidays.

In fact, Mr. Odoi’s daughter now has two children with a Hungarian national in the UK and she has never been to Ghana with her new family.

Mr. Odoi has spent the last 30 or so years in the UK, working and saving to complete his dream house in Ghana which he intends to pass on to his children. He is disappointed that his children are not interested in his toil.

At best, when Mr. Odoi dies, his children will sell the house, or they will leave it to rot in the hands of the extended family members in Ghana although Odoi does not intend to have that property handed to his extended family members.

This will be the case of many Africans abroad. They have had their children abroad and yet building houses far away in Africa for these children—thinking that one day the children, born in the West, would relocate to the same country their parents toiled to escape from.

Even if these children would return to Africa, what are the chances that they would want to reside in these properties—considering their locations, architecture, or convenience to their purpose?

About 5 years ago, a family friend died. Before his death, he was advised to sell one of his 2 properties at Labone in Accra to get a decent car and a driver in Accra—so that this driver can drive him to his various hospital appointments in dignity. He was on dialysis.

He refused and continued to rely on taxis—because, he wanted to leave those two properties to his children who were in USA.

When he died, the children sold the two properties within 4 months and one actually told us he was going to use some of the proceeds to buy a Tesla for his girlfriend on her graduation and also renovate their kitchen in the US.

The same properties the old man wouldn’t sell to cater for his medical needs were sold within 4 months of his death.

If you are an African living abroad and you have had your children abroad or have moved your children with you abroad, know that the chances that these children would return to your home country is highly infinitesimal. Therefore, if you want to leave them a property, first consider the country you live.

You shouldn’t be building houses in Africa for your children when you have all your children with you in London—especially if you do not have any property in London for them.

There are over 192 countries in the world, what makes you think that the children you have given birth to in the UK, Germany, Japan or USA or have taken to these countries at a young age would want to finally come and settle in your home country—where common electricity and water continue to be a problem?

The majority will never come back the way we think so parents should invest wisely if they want to leave their children a property.

By Chris-Vincent Agyapong