The government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture has unveiled 7 pillars for the rollout of the 10-year ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative, which aims at building on the gains from 2019’s Year of Return.
As a follow-up program to the 2019 Year of Return, the Ministry inaugurated a 17-member committee co-chaired by Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, and Board member of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Kwame Acheampong Boateng Esq.
Speaking at a program organized on Wednesday 9th September 2020 for the Unveiling of the pillars, Senior Minister, Hon. Osafo Marfo said that the initiative has been rolled out to encourage investment to help improve the heritage infrastructure of the country among others.
“Over the next decade, the project seeks to consolidate the gains of the Year of Return and grow tourism in the country, showcase its investment potential, and solidify its diaspora engagement program to promote the African Renaissance”
Hon. Osafo Marfo also called on all stakeholders to aid in making the initiative a successful one by putting in place viable plans to attract talent among Diasporan Africans so they can contribute to the development of the African Continent.
“I make a clarion call to the Steering Committee, stakeholders, and all Ghanaians that consolidating the gains after the Year of Return is not just enough. The plans and programmes you put in place for the “Beyond the Return” agenda must seek to not just attract tourists into the country, 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,” he added.
Below are the 7 pillars unveiled by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. CELEBRATE GHANA – 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.
5. BRAND GHANA –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.
6. 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
7. 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, Pikworo Slave Camp in the Upper East Region, Assin Manso where the slaves had the last bath and the first Auction and branding took place in the Central Region. The Slaves after the branding at Assin Manso head towards the various castles at Elmina, Cape Coast among others. All of which are essential parts of the history of slavery in Ghana.
Speaking to Univers News after the event, some Diasporians lauded the government for the initiative and further called on the kith and kin in the Diaspora to return to the homeland and help develop the continent.