Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Hosts First Diaspora Breakfast Meeting With ‘Beyond the Return’

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The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat collaborated on the first ever Diaspora Business Breakfast Meeting which was held on Tuesday November 17, 2020.  The event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Accra.  The meeting was an official ‘Beyond the Return’ event which carefully aligns with one of the pillars for the campaign called, Invest in Ghana.

 

 

After the ‘Year of Return’ many diasporans wanted to explore business and investment opportunities in Ghana.  Under the Invest in Ghana pillar for ‘Beyond the Return’, a committee has been formed that is chaired by GIPC with a goal to create programs and opportunities to support the diaspora in their journey towards investing in Ghana.

The event’s theme was ‘Creating Connections- Building Ghana, Together’ and was an opportunity to network and engage with the diaspora community.  Speakers included, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, CEO GIPC, Yofi Grant, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, and Co-Chair of ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Co-Chair for the ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Kwame Acheampong Boateng Esq. and CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for ‘Beyond the Return’, Akwasi Agyeman.

Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, addressed the attendees about the ‘Right of Abode’ and citizenship, stating that there to plans in place to work on those concerns.  He also spoke on making provisions for the diaspora who are looking to relocate and resettle in Ghana.  CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre highlighted important areas of business opportunities for the diaspora while speaking on the importance of taking advantage of our strengths and resources.  “We can’t have a continent that is wealthy and yet our people are poor,” he said. “We must all do our bit to transform our nation.”

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway was the Keynote Speaker and shared her experience about moving back to Ghana in 1993 when there was no structure in place to support returnees.  She commended the collaborative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, GIPC, Ghana Tourism Authority, the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and the Beyond the Return Secretariat.  “There’s never been a time in the history of this country where you see so much interest and enthusiasm on the part of the diaspora who are willing to contribute their skills, technical know-how, and capital in support of government transformation agenda,” she said.

The Panel Discussion was moderated by Jerry Adjorlolo and featured Diasporans who shared their experiences and advice when moving to Ghana.  They were, Head of Information and Public Affairs Embassy of Ghana USA, Kofi Tonto, Real Estate Developer; Ayi Mensah Park, Kofi Anku, CEO of GUBA Enterprise, Dentaa Amoateng, and Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank Group; Founder of Ahaspora, Christabel Dadzie.

In closing the event, Akwasi Agyeman said that we need to tell our story and it starts from us.  “We need to open our arms to our brothers and sisters out there, it’s a collaborative effort,” he said. “We’re not just talking about the Ghanaian diaspora, we’re talking about the historical diaspora as well,” he said.

Ghana Diaspora Celebration & Homecoming Summit Welcomes Diasporans From Around the World

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Ghana continues to be a leader in Africa when it comes to its relationship with the diaspora community. It’s the first country to have a Diaspora Affairs Office in the Presidency designed to focus on the needs of its people living outside the country.  The biennial Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit, which runs from 3rd – 6th July 2019, had a successful opening day at the Accra International Conference Centre. Many dignitaries and government officials were there to be part the opening day including, Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, Barabara Oteng Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Jessica Ayivor, Vice President of the African American Association of Ghana and H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennet, Head of Mission, Diaspora African Forum.  A special Keynote address from President Nana Akufo-Addo was a highlight that served to put a stamp on the importance of this conference.

 

Akufo-Addo said some key things in his address that gave everyone the confidence that he takes this event and the work of the Diaspora Affairs office seriously. “When I’ve visited countries outside our shores, I’ve engaged with members of the Ghanaian community not only to tell them about the progress we made in our country but also to listen to their concerns.” He continued his address saying, “When I was informed the remittances from Ghanaians in the diaspora has increased by nearly 50% from $2.2 Billion USD in 2017, to $3 Billion USD in 2018, it reinforced my decision to continue to engage in this important constituency that continues to support the growth and the progress of our economy.”

Mr. Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, has done a great job of engaging with the diaspora.  Known for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with people from the diaspora, Mr. Ababio is perhaps one of the most accessible people in government.  During his address on the first day of events, he said, that the summit was working towards enhancing the quality of life for Ghanaians both at home and in the diaspora. “We also recognize the strategic role those in the diaspora play in Ghana’s development,” he said. “The [upcoming] sessions will highlight the past and present actions of the diaspora and the future opportunities working together to build Ghana.”

 

Event registrants came from all corners of the globe including, Kenya, Turkey, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Australia, Belgium, the U.K., United States, and Canada. Each expecting to network and build connections with others who have a strong interest in Ghana.  Adjoa Agyeman, a diasporan from Canada said she decided to come to the event because she has returned to Ghana and faced some obstacles. “I wanted to come and see if anyone else is having the same challenges that I am having and also to see if there are any remedies that are being brought up. So far I haven’t gotten a lot of answers, I’m still waiting.  There are some issues that came up, like getting the Ghana card, and I thought it wasn’t resolved. So I am looking forward to the next few days and hoping all of my questions will be answered.”

 

A man from the U.K, who wished to remain nameless, said he was excited about all the things happening in Ghana so he decided to attend the event in hopes of networking and meeting new people. While Karl-Buah Obed, who travelled from Hong Kong spoke about how impressed he is with the Diaspora Affairs Office.  He said that he was happy at how quick Mr. Ababio and his team are to respond to the needs of people like himself from the diaspora. Obed said it’s important to have someone in an office like that who cares about the needs and concerns of people who are transitioning to Ghana.

 

Over the next few days, the conference will feature other keynote speakers and panel discussions tackling some of the concerns of the diaspora.  “The critical role of those living in the diaspora cannot be overstated,” the president said in wrapping up his Keynote address. He stressed that he will continue to have all diaspora matters centralized in the Diaspora Affairs Office where it currently resides.

 

The conference runs until 6th July so it’s not too late to attend if you’re already in Ghana and looking to participate in the activities. Visit the website at www.myghanadiaspora.com for more details on registration and to download the event program.  For more info on the Diaspora Affairs office visit the website, www.ghanaiandiaspora.com or www.yearofreturn.com.

Written by Ivy Prosper