In a follow-up to a successful ‘Year of Return Ghana 2019’ last year, Ghana has unveiled a list of Seven Pillars, as a guide to the ‘Beyond the Return’ Initiative, a 10-year plan, designed to build on the momentum of the ‘Year of Return’.
The launch event, was attended by a broad spectrum of the Diaspora community, public officials, private tourism individuals and the media.
CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of the Beyond the Return Steering Committee, Mr Akwasi Agyeman said the initiative is a journey that will see deeper conversations among the global African family.
“Ghana has become a leader in diaspora relations and we are confident that the next decade will only serve to strengthen the bonds we have established with our African Diaspora Community,” he said.
He was hopeful that the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport would offer some renewed energy for Ghana’s tourism to bounce back within the last quarter of the year.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi said that Beyond the Return will consolidate the bond between Ghana, Africa and the global African family and build on the country’s competitive urge to attract the global African diaspora.
“Despite the COVID-19, our global African family continues to express desire to return to Africa, especially Ghana and we are ready to receive them. Each of the seven pillars touches on the many areas that are key to the development of Ghana.”
Officially launching the pillars, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo stated that the plan themed, “A Decade of Renaissance-2020-2030” has been rolled out to encourage investment to help improve the heritage infrastructure of the country, among others.
He argued that ‘Beyond the Return’ should not just build on the ‘Year of Return’ but rather, must be geared towards attracting the best pool of talent from the diaspora with African descent to return and contribute their skills, knowledge and wealth to the development of Africa especially Ghana.
“Within these 7 pillars are efforts we are seeking to harness the expertise of Africans across the globe to transform the continent and provide a very welcoming business environment for direct investments into our economies,” Osafo-Maafo declared.
The core of this pillar is the invitation to the Global African family to visit and experience Ghana. Creating memorable experiences through Sankofa and healing journeys, cultural events, festivals, entertainment, nightlife, culinary experience and December in Ghana are key to establishing long-term connections with the Ghanaian and African Diaspora.
Invest in Ghana
This pillar will create special investment programmes and ease of doing business for the diasporan. Key activities will be the Diaspora Investment programmes, Sankofa Savings accounts and Diaspora Housing Schemes.
Diaspora Pathways to Ghana
This pillar will see to the adoption of legal and policy frameworks on visa acquisition (e-visa) and the institution of a diaspora visa. It will facilitate key diaspora pathway programmes such as Citizenship Programmes, Educational and Work Exchanges, Residence and Work Permits.
This will create a sense of national consciousness anchored on key cultural festivals, media programmes, and adoption of contemporary festivals unto the national calendar and promotion of domestic tourism.
This pillar seeks to promote Ghana as a leading tourism destination and a hub for the African renaissance. It will craft a new narrative on Ghana and strategically promote Ghana to the world.
Give Back to Ghana
This pillar will foster a new sense of community service and giving that will create ongoing legacies for the project. Service areas will include tree planting, community clean-ups and adoption of certain community impact projects
Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation
This pillar will focus on promoting Pan-African and Ghanaian heritage and developing pilgrimage infrastructure around sites of memory. Development of tourism infrastructure for target sites will be extended beyond the highly frequented sites of Cape Coast and Elmina dungeons to such areas as the Salaga Slave Market in the Northern Region and many other areas played a role in the slavery history.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe