As part of efforts to develop the Tourism and Cultural Industry and build upon the ‘Year of Return Ghana 2019’, government has unveiled a list of Seven Pillars, as a guide to the ‘Beyond the Return’ Initiative.
The seven-pillar initiative is to showcase the country’s investment potentials and consolidate its diaspora engagement programmes under the Beyond the Return project.
The pillars include Experience Ghana, Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Give Back to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana and Brand Ghana.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony in Accra, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, stated 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.
He 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.”
He also said the Invest in Ghana project, would help facilitate special investment programmes to ease the requirements of doing business whiles the Diaspora Pathways to Ghana, would provide legal and policy frameworks on visa acquisition and the institution of a diaspora visa.
He further noted that 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,” he said.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo also urged all stakeholders to 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.
Beyond the Return
The ‘Beyond the Return’ Initiative, which is a 10-year plan, designed to build on the momentum of the ‘Year of Return’ is also 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.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, said the Beyond the Return was an initiative that would allow for cross fertilization 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, thus the need for the project.