In the quest of the Government of Ghana to project Ghana on the global tourism map by attracting diasporas across the globe into the country, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has launched the 7 Pillars foundation christen as “Beyond the year of return,” after the successful organization of 2019 year of return event in Ghana.
These 7 foundation pillars seek to primarily spur the socio economic improvement of the nation by rebranding Ghana’s image on the international scene, given that the Akuffo Addo government viewed the tourism sector as a game changer in diversifying the country’s economy.
At the launch of the event, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Lawyer Barbara Oteng-Gyasi indicated that Beyond the Return project will cement Ghana’s relationship with the global African family and the rest of the African continent by given Ghana a competitive urge to attract people with diasporic identity and international tourists into the country.
Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, emphasized that the 7 pillars project is a cross fertilization of ideas and policy direction that establishes strong connections with the diasporic community and also has a propensity of attracting investors into the country.
She indicated that Despite the Covid -19 pandemic, the diasporic community continues to express their commitment to return to Ghana in particular and Africa at large. In this regard Ghana by extension has open its arms in welcoming the diasporas to be an integral part of Ghana’s Culture.
Hon. Barbara Gyasi, stressed that the 7 pillars of the Beyond the year of Return underscores the socio-economic advancement of the nation, whiles urging all and sundry in the country to endeavor to embrace it in order to become a reality.
Hon. Oteng-Gyasi disclosed that the country is currently fashioning out a modality to implement a 'Homeland Return' legislation to ease the return of the diasporic community in Ghana and be duly integrated into the Ghana’s culture.
She further entreated the diasporas to endeavor to return to their motherland Ghana and Africa in order for their dignity to be protected.
On his part Mr. Akwesi Agyeman who doubles as the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority(GTA), for the Beyond the Return Steering Committeeas the Coordinator of the Beyond the Return Steering Committee, stressed that the Beyond the Return initiative is an agenda, that is going to ignite a deeper conversation among the global African family to the rest African countries.
The Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo who performed the unveiling of the 7 pillars of Beyond the Year of Return programme in Accra, remarked that the initiative is a 10-year master plan to build on the successes gained in the Year of Return event, under the theme "A Decade of Renaissance-2020-2030.
According to him, the project is to also help encourage investors to help build on the African heritage infrastructure and for that matter Ghana.
He said Beyond the Return should not just build on the Year of Return but rather, it must be anchored on attracting the best pool of talent from the diasporic community to return and contribute substantially to the knowledge gap and wealth for the development of Ghana and Africa at large.
Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo intimated that the 7 pillars are the government of Akuffo Addo’s administration quest to harness the expertise of Africans across the globe to facilitate Ghana’s transformational agenda.
THE 7 PILLARS.
The seven (7) Pillars foundation were outlined as follows:
The object of this pillar invite 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 is to create special investment programmes and ease of doing business for the diasporas. 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 also facilitate key diaspora pathway programmes such as Citizenship Programmes, Educational and Work Exchanges, Residence and Work Permits.
This is to 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 Savannah region and many other areas which played a role in the slavery history.
The event was attended by some high ranking government officials, and a broad spectrum of the Diaspora community and some Captains and stakeholders in the Ghana’s tourism industry.
To ensure successful implementation of this Beyond the Year of Return programme. The committee is to be co-chaired by the Board Member of the GTA, Mr. Kwame Boateng and Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio of the Office of the Diasporas Affairs at the Flagg Staff House. Other Members of the committee were the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. John Yao Agbeko, the Reps from the Ghana Tourism Authority are Mr. Ben Anane Nsiah, Mrs. Roberta Dawson Amoah and Mr. Eko Sampson.
Whiles other representatives were from the Ministry of National Security Mr. Lawrence Kofi Azuma, the Panafest Foundation, Prof. Esi Sutherland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Khadijah Iddrisu, Ghana Police Service Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations Dr. Shaibu Pabi, the Ghana Immigration Service Ms. Edith Arhin, the GIPC, Mr. Yofi Grant, the Ghana National theatre Mrs. Amy Appiah Frimpong, Jessica Ayivor, and some rep from the African American Association of Ghana (AAAG).