En few studies on remittances have focused on sub-saharan africa. This paper analyses a nationwide survey of 5,998 households to determine the characteristics of both internal and overseas remittances in ghana. Particular attention is paid to the poverty-alleviation potential of remittances. Furthermore, this study uses a smaller scale pilot project with a matched sample of senders and receivers of remittances to identify some problems with using household-level surveys to assess the volume and impact of overseas remittances, and offers some suggestions as to how to handle these problems. The paper estimates that foreign remittances may be three times as large as bank of ghana estimates, bringing ghana on par with large remittance receiving countries such as the philippines and mexico. The paper concludes that while foreign remittances are larger in value, locally sent remittances reach poorer segments of the population. Both foreign and local remittances are unevenly geographically distributed, being received more in the centre and southern regions than in northern ghana where the poorest regions are. The paper argues a need to study multiplier effects of foreign remittances, as these can be large and eventually accrue to rural populations.