Ghana yesterday September 9, launched a list of seven pillars for the implementation of its Beyond the Return initiative.
Beyond the Return builds on the success of the highly acclaimed Year of Return held lthroughout 2019 and the seven pillars set out the foundation for the execution of the 10-year campaign.
The colourful event held at the National Theatre, was attended by a broad spectrum of the Diaspora community, public officials, private tourism individuals and the media.
In his address, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of the Beyond the Return Steering Committee, 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.
Agyeman added that the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport gives renewed energy for the country’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 seeks to build on our competitive urge to attract the global African diaspora.
She said that the campaign is a cross fertilizarion of ideas, policy direction that establishes strong connections with the diaspora and that “Ghana today has become more attractive to tourists and investors.”
“Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, our global African family continues to express desire to return to Africa, especially Ghana and we are ready to receive them. Each of the 7 pillars touches on the many areas that are key to the development of Ghana.”
Oteng-Gyasi revealed that Ghana is currently developing a ‘Homeland Return’ legislation to facilitate ease of return of the diaspora.
“Africa is the future and building it will demand collaboration between continental Africa and Diaspora Africans,” she opined.
Officially launching the 7 pillars, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo stated that the 10-year plan to build on the momentum of the Year of Return under the theme “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 said Beyond the Return should not just build on the Year of Return but rather, it must be geared towards attracting the best pool of talent from people in 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 7 Pillars
EXPERIENCE GHANA – 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, 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.