The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has unveiled a seven-pillar initiative to showcase the country’s investment potentials and solidify its diaspora engagement programmes under the Beyond the Return project.
Beyond the Return is a follow-up to the Year of Return project which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first recorded enslaved Africans in Virginia in 1619.
The pillars are Experience Ghana, Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Give Back to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana and Brand Ghana.
During the unveiling in Accra last Wednesday, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, indicated that the pillars contained specific initiatives which would harness the expertise of diasporans across the globe to transform the country and provide a welcoming business environment for direct investments into its economy.
The 7 pillars
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the Experience Ghana initiative would invite the global African family to visit and experience the country to help establish a long-term connection between Ghana and the African diaspora.
The Invest in Ghana project, he said, would help facilitate special investment programmes to ease the requirements of doing business; the Diaspora Pathways to Ghana, would provide legal and policy frameworks on visa acquisition and the institution of a diaspora visa; the Celebrate Ghana initiative would create a sense of national consciousness anchored on key festivals, media programmers, and adoption of contemporary festivals into the national calendar; the Brand Ghana initiative would help promote the country as the leading tourism destination and a hub for the African renaissance; while the Give Back to Ghana initiative would foster a new sense of community service and giving to create ongoing legacies for the Beyond the Return project.
“Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation will focus on promoting Pan-African Ghanaian heritage and developing pilgrimage infrastructure around sites of memory,” Mr Osafo-Maafo said.
“We must all support these pillars to help make Ghana the place for investment, progress and prosperity, and not a place where our youth flee in the hope of accessing the proverbial greener pastures, or for a better life in Europe or the Americas,” he added.
Beyond the Return
The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, indicated that Beyond the Return was an initiative that would allow for cross fertilisation of ideas, policies and implementation of strategies to make Ghana more attractive as the destination for tourism, trade and investment on the African continent.
She noted that most Africans in the diaspora dreamt of returning to the continent, but were confronted with uncertainty on which African country they could call home.
The sad reality, she said, had not stopped Ghana from showing leadership in positioning the country as the homeland for returning diasporans.
“Ghana today has become more attractive than ever before to tourists and investors from the diasporan community and all over the world,” she said.
“They have embraced what we have done with the Year of Return commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and celebrating African resilience,” Mrs Oteng-Gyasi added.
She said the country was developing a Homeland Return Legislation to facilitate various forms of migration and integration into the country.
The enactment of the Homeland Return Act, she said, would take away the discrimination meted to Africans in the diaspora.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said Ghana, as the leader of Pan-Africanism through the Act, would offer opportunity for citizenship to members of the diaspora communities.
The Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, stated that the level of success achieved in the Year of Return was unprecedented.
He said through the project, Ghana was able to connect the African diaspora in ways that were beyond expectations.