Year Of Return: President Akufo-Addo Confers Ghanaian Citizenship On 126 Diasporans

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The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, 27th November 2019, conferred Ghanaian citizenship on 126 Diasporans, who have lived in Ghana for many years.

Speaking after the conferment ceremony, President Akufo-Addo stated that “I am glad you have decided to make Ghana your home, and thereby, join several generations of Diasporans, who committed their lives to us.”

 

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He noted that several persons, including the likes of George Padmore, Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, Maya Angelou, and W.E.B du Bois all found homes in Ghana, with the latter buried in the country.

With the ceremony being part of the series of activities commemorating the ‘Year of Return’, the President stated that Ghana recognizes her position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the West coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported.

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“That is why we had a responsibility to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora. Many have responded to this call, and the ‘Year of Return’ has so far proven to be a joyful and learning experience all round for all of us,” he said.

To the 126 Diasporans, the President urged them to respect and abide by the laws of Ghana and live in accordance with the tenets of Ghana’s Constitution.

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“You have the responsibility of preserving and promoting the image of a country whose reputation, amongst the comity of nations, is, today, high. You are citizens of a country that is regarded as one of the most stable on the continent, a beacon of democracy, governed by the rule of law and respect for individual liberties, human rights and the principles of democratic accountability, as a result of the commendable acts and deeds of past and present generations of your fellow Ghanaians,” he said.

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The President continued, “In all your actions, I urge you to guard jealously our country’s image. It is a charge, I am confident, you will uphold. In doing so, I suggest that to facilitate the process of re-integration, you learn at least one Ghanaian language of your choice – Akan, Ewe, Ga, Dagbani, Hausa, or Nzema, amongst others.”

President Akufo-Addo urged them also to be engaged fully in the realization of the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.

“Simply put, I just want us to be self-confident, and accept that we shall never reach the level of development we aspire to by relying on aid or external assistance, no matter how generous. It is a mindset that I wish us to discard, a mindset of dependency and living on handouts,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo, in concluding, paid tribute to the late Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Jake to others, who, as Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations under the Government of the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, the outstanding Ghanaian statesman, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, championed the cause for the return of descendants of the slave trade to their homes of origin.

“He instituted the “Joseph Project”, whose aim was to reconcile and unite the African peoples, on the continent and in the Diaspora, and to release their energies to help build Africa and the Caribbean. This ceremony would be a happy moment for him,” he added.

Year of Return Inspires Couple to Move to Ghana

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Since President Nana Akufo-Addo declared 2019 as the Year of Return, several people from the global African diaspora have heeded the call and made a trip to Ghana. Most have come to explore the history, heritage and culture and have life-changing experiences as they return back to their respective homes in the Americas, Europe and beyond.

For one couple, the President’s speech inspired them to uproot their family and move to Ghana. “We were very inspired by the Year of Return and moved to Ghana just over 2 months ago,” said Anna Acheampong. She said they couldn’t wait when they saw the door was open. She and her husband are both of Dutch-Ghanaian heritage. Both have fathers who are Ghanaian and mothers who are Dutch. Growing up in Holland as mixed-race children came with its challenges, but it also had its benefits. The couple said they were able to have the best of both worlds.


Both in their early thirties, Anna, who worked as a Social Worker in Child Protective Services, and her husband Kevin, who is a Corporate Account Manager, recently moved to Ghana to not only experience life there, but to also expose their children to a different way of living. “I think we are settled now and we’re trying to relax,” she said. “When we told our friends and family that we wanted to move to Ghana, they would always ask us, ‘Why do you want to move to Ghana?’…and now that we’ve made the move, we get people asking questions like, ‘Do you have electricity?’” …she laughed.

Anna said she couldn’t believe that people still thought that a modern lifestyle can’t exist in an African country. She says it’s largely why they decided to start posting videos on YouTube. She and her husband wanted to show their friends back in Holland, what they were experiencing on a day-to-day basis to see what their new life was really like. “With our videos, we are trying to show that what people think, is not the way Africans live.” She says they were concerned about the stereotypes that exist about Ghana and that inspired her to create content that shows another perspective of the country.

Their two children, ages seven and three, have had their ups and downs. “One of the biggest challenges is they don’t speak English. They are gradually learning,” she said. “The older one has had the most difficult experience as she is having a hard time letting go of her old friends in the Netherlands.” She said during their research on moving to Ghana they noticed a gap when it comes to information available. “We were looking for content to show our kids how things would be in Ghana and we couldn’t find it anywhere. Through our videos, we are trying to motivate other families that are thinking about making the same move. We also want to show things from the perspective of a child, which, we couldn’t find anywhere.”

Anna said that when she was growing up in the Netherlands, she would often go to Ghana on vacation with her dad, but she was never really free to do what she wanted. Her family would keep her from exploring and she didn’t get a real feel of the country. It wasn’t until she and her husband came to Ghana together for the first time that she saw Ghana in a whole different light. “That was the first time that I really saw and experienced Ghana. It’s what I believe I should have had when I was growing up,” she said. “We want to give our children what we missed out on.”

She said that Ghana does have its challenges, it’s not perfect but you have to find a way to make it work. “You have to try to make it nice for yourself,” she said. “We found a house with a pool so our children have something nice to do every day.”

This was important to her because Ghana lacks the public playgrounds that they enjoyed in the Netherlands. “We also do a lot of things with the other kids in the neighbourhood.”

After a short time living in the country, they are constantly having new experiences and enjoying every minute of it. She said that every day is a learning experience and they are enjoying sharing it all on their YouTube Channel Acheampong Adventures.

Watch them on YouTube on this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1XHxRcQmpb-zTVgH9Xxtww

Written by: Ivy Prosper

GHANA HOSTS MAIDEN UNWTO REGIONAL CONGRESS ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN AFRICA

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Ghana is hosting the maiden United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Congress on women empowerment in the Tourism sector – Focus on Africa.

File Photo – Some traditional leaders (Queen Mothers) at the Women In Tourism Summit

 

The 3-day congress (25 – 27 November, 2019) aims at analysing the current challenges and opportunities for women’s empowerment in the tourism sector, creating a synergy among the African countries and key stakeholders for greater cooperation in the promotion of women’s participation in the tourism sector and it will be held at the Accra International Conference Centre.

According to the second edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism to be published by UNWTO, in collaboration with UN Women, GIZ, the World Bank and

Amadeus, ‘tourism has the potential to contribute to greater gender equality, providing women with more opportunities for empowerment than other sectors. It is also recognised more as a strategic tool for inclusive development’.

File Photo – 2018 Women In Tourism Summit

 

In 2018, Ghana hosted its maiden Women in Tourism Summit, a platform that served as a strategic driver to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, under the theme: ‘DRIVING WOMEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT’.The summit explored how to drive women empowerment through tourism development. It also created an opportunity for women operating across the entire tourism value chain to network and learn from each other and to transform the tourism economy to become a fundamental pillar in advancing the role of women in tourism entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders.

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The maiden UNWTO Regional Congress will bring together a number of tourism stakeholders and keynote speakers in a series of panels to discuss and share best practice and set common proposals to address gender equality in the tourism sector for inclusive development in Africa.

The themes to be addressed at the congress will include: Tourism Policies to Enable Gender Equality; Entrepreneurship in Tourism, An Effective Means for Women to Lead in The Tourism Sector; Financing Women Empowerment Through Tourism – Challenges and The Way Forward and education and Technology as A Tool for Women’s Socio-Economic Advancement in Tourism.

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The congress is targeting Tourism stakeholders – National Tourism Administrations, Tourism Ministries, public authorities and public gender-equality institutions, private sector representatives with interest in working on women’s empowerment and tourism development in the region, civil society and NGOs related to women’s empowerment and gender equality and Representatives from other sectors which have an impact and interest on women empowerment in the tourism sector in Africa.

The Regional Congress is to empower women to have greater opportunities to speed up the progress of women empowerment towards the SDGs and to improve women’s participation in the workforce, increase women’s entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment in the tourism sector.

Ghana Tourism Authority outdoors ‘December In Gh’ Events

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The Ghana Tourism Authority under its flagship marketing campaign “Year of Return” has outdoored several programmes dubbed #DecemberInGh listing a line-up of events spanning the whole of December up to early January 2020.

The public is being urged to pick their events, plan and get their tickets and make this Yuletide a memorable one.

 

 

 

Remains of Unknown Enslaved African Reburied in Assin Manso

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo travelled to Barbados in June this year as part of Year of Return to reconnect Ghana with Caribean nations.  On his trip, he invited the leaders of the countries he visited to make a trip to Ghana and encouraged discussions on how their countries can form strategic partnerships. 

 

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Minister for Tourism in a discussion with Barbados PM

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, accepted his invitation and arrived in Ghana Thursday morning with a delegation for a 3-day visit.  This trip is significant because not only is the Prime Minister exploring possible business opportunities and ways our two countries can build together, she is also visiting historical sites and Thursday witnessed the burial of the remains of an unknown enslaved African from Barbados. 

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Shortly after arrival, she and her delegation travelled to the Central Region to visit Cape Coast Castle before making the journey to Assin Manso for the burial. “We are home and we thank God for giving us the strength and resilience as a people to be able to make this journey today,” she said to the crowd in Assin Manso.  “It is not a coincidence that this is the ‘Year of Return’ …we have come to declare too, that we want to close the circle and we want to build the Atlantic bridge,” she declared.

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It was an emotional ceremony that represented the coming together of the past, present and building toward the future.  The local Chiefs poured libations to honour the ancestors and they greeted and welcomed the Prime Minister to their town.  “We have to pay homage and to give thanks for centuries of resilience of those who were able to withstand the cruelest indignities in humanity…thanks for the ability to keep faith and keep hope alive,” Mottley said.

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Remains of unknown enslaved African being carried to burial site

The casket holding the remains was draped with kente and the Barbados flag.  It was carried to the gravesite and wreaths were laid in honour of this unknown soul.  After burial, the Prime Minister and her delegation were taken on a private tour of the Slave River where captured Africans were bathed for the last time before being taken to the dungeons of Cape Coast and Elmina through the ‘door of no return.

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Mottley is hopeful and positive for the future relationship Barbados will have with Ghana. “You must know that we have come here with love in our heart…with a determination that we will always be stronger working together.”

Year of Return’ is a game-changer – Steve Harvey

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Veteran American comedian and actor Steve Harvey has commended Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo for the ‘Year of Return’ initiative.

According to the radio personality, the year of return has brought a lot of African–Americans to Ghana to witness on firsthand basis the struggles blacks went through during the slave trade era.

Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Star Thursday, the Comedian expressed gratitude to the president for the move.

“We have been once called Negros, blacks and finally to African–Americans and this has been our journey so far,” he said.

He said he will use all platforms available to him to enlighten Blacks about Ghana’s significance in the dark history of the slave trade and urge all to travel to Ghana.

“We would never be the same after the year the president opened the year of return”.

“My mission now is to get tourism board of Ghana, South Africa and Botswana to work as a unit to bring more African-Americans first to Ghana,” he added.

He noted a visit to the slave Castle will make African-Americans unravel the full truth of their history and appreciate the struggles of their grandparents.

Source: Akessesemonline

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Visits Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

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On her second day in Ghana, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, visited the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum.  Her delegation, along with Samia Nkrumah, Chairperson of the CPP political party and daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for Year of Return, took an early morning tour to pay respect to one of the greatest Pan-African leaders.

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Mottley expressed how truly honoured she was that Samia Nkrumah had chosen to join them this morning on their tour.  “All of my adult life, I know of the name and work of Kwame Nkrumah and he has been an inspiration for all who have believed that justice is possible,” she said after the tour. Together with her team, they toured the grounds and visited the museum and burial site of Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia Nkrumah, who was buried near him.

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Prime Minister Mottley expressed her idea that education and equity go hand in hand when it comes to affecting civilization and allowing us to be the best we can be. It was evident that her experience so far has been impactful on her.  “That I have this opportunity not just to visit Ghana, but to come and pay homage and respects on behalf of Barbadian people…to the memory and legacy of Dr. Kwame Nkruman is a matter of great pride for me,” she said.

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She is expected to participate in the Dumba Festival in Tamale later.

Photos: Remains of an unknown enslaved African from Barbados reburied at Assin Manso

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Yesterday, the remains of an unknown enslaved African which was brought by the Prime Minister of Barbados was buried at the Assin Manso River Site, making it the third remains of enslaved Africans to be buried at the site.

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The Prime Minister,  who arrived on Thursday would be in the country for three days and would hold bilateral discussions with the President.

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Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her business delegation will meet President Akufo Addo as well as tour Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The trip is to deepen ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Mottley will also participate in the Damba Festival to be held in Yendi over the weekend.

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Year Of Return: Barbados Prime Minister arrives on three-day visit to Ghana

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Accra, Nov. 14, GNA – As part of the Year of Return and visit of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Barbabos in June, Her Excellency Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados has arrived for a visit to Ghana.

The Prime Minister who arrived on Thursday would be in the country for three days and would hold bilateral discussions with the President.

She would also be in Assin Manso to witness a durbar of chiefs to be held in her honour at the forecourt of the Assin Manso Ancestral River Site.

Prime Minister Mottley shall also visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and participate in the Damba Festival to be held in Yendi over the weekend.

Remains of an unknown enslaved African she brought with her would be buried at the Assin Manso River Site, and this would be the third remains of enslaved Africans buried at the site.

The Prime Minister’s delegation also includes business leaders who are expected to meet their Ghanaian counterparts.

Mrs Barbara Oteng -Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, welcomed the Prime Minister saying the nation’s tourism sector seeks to deepen its activities in the Carribean with Barbados as the gateway.

Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Coordinator of the Year of Return and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, said the visit highlighted the importance of the Year of Return in the global African discussion.

Source: GNA

What’s Happening This November In ‘Year of Return’?

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With less than two months to wrap up the year, there are still so many anticipated events for the Year of Return.  We are well into November and there are a few important events to note that are still coming up.  The National Festival of Arts and Culture starts on 8th November and the program goes until 15th November.  Taking place in Koforidua at Jubilee Park, there are several activities planned for the week-long event. 

 

There will be several exhibitions celebrating the art and culture of all 16 regions of Ghana.  The regional ministers and paramount chiefs of each region will also be in attendance so it promises to be a beautiful display of culture.  The theme of the event is Empowering Youth Through Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts for Employment and Wealth Creation.

The Ministry of Tourism Art and Culture recognises how important it is to give a voice to the youth and to encourage them to engage in tourism, arts and cultural activities.  This month there is also the Kids in Tourism Funfair from 28th – 30th November at Efua Sutherland Park.  There will be several activities to engage young people and teach them the value of tourism.

 

The Acces Music in Africa Conference at the end of the month from 28th-30th November is an important pan-African event for the music industry.  It gives a platform for key industry players to network, exchange ideas and even discover new and emerging talent.  Every year this event is held in a different African city and this year, during the Year of Return, they have selected Accra as the host city.

For anyone interested in the creative arts and the music industry, this is a great place to come and meet local, regional and international professionals in the business.  Several international speakers have been confirmed for the event including award-winning musician, producer and entrepreneur, Akon, CEO and Founder of Paradise Entertainment & Distribution, Ralph Boege from Germany and Executive Vice-President of Chocolate City Group, Aibee Abidoye from Nigeria.

There are also local industry players scheduled to speak including award-winning artist Sarkodie, award-winning singer-songwriter Efya, multi-award winning musician Ebo Taylor, hip-life music pioneer Obrafuor and more. For more details on attending this conference visit their website on www.musicinafrica.net.