President Akufo-Addo has appealed to people of African descent who have heeded to the “Year of Return” initiative and have visited Ghana to help make Africa the place for investment and economic development.
Addressing attendees of an event organized by the British High Commission for all people who are in Ghana as part of the “Year of Return” and themed “Beyond the Return, the Diaspora Dividend”, President Akufo-Addo indicated that just like Chinese Diasporans were at the forefront of the economic revolution of China, African Diasporans can do same for the African continent.
“Let us all remember that the destiny of all black people no matter where they are in the world is bound up with Africa. We must help make Africa the place for investment, progress and prosperity and not from where our youth flee in the hope of accessing the mirage of a better life in Europe or the Americas” President Akufo-Addo said.
The Chinese Diaspora
According to the President, history has it that Diasporan communities have had a positive impact on the development of several countries through increased trade activities, rising investments and transfer of skills and knowledge. Citing the case of China, the President noted that “with an immigrate population of 60 million, the Chinese Diaspora is side to be the 25th largest country in the world who according to the” Nikkei Asian Review” own assets worth 2.5 trillion United States dollars”.
The President went on to say, “when foreign companies in the late 1970s reduced their investments in China, it was the Chinese Diaspora that shored up the economy. According to the Washington DC-based migration policy institute, half of the foreign direct investment, that is, 26 billion United States dollars that transformed China into a manufacturing powerhouse in the 1990s originated from the Chinese Diaspora”. The Chinese example the President indicated must inform the relationship that African Diasporans must develop with Africa.
“As we draw the curtain on this bold initiative, we should now look beyond the return and build on the dividend chocked. The time has come to engage Africans in the Diaspora and all persons of African decent more positively in areas such as trade & investment cooperation and skills & knowledge development” President Akufo-Addo noted.
British High Commissioner to Ghana
British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker, in his speech observed that the “Year of Return” initiative has been a great success and that the British High Commission is committed to ensuring that Ghana continues to reap the benefits of the initiative beyond this year.
“We are very keen to working more with the Diaspora office. We are very keen to build on the phenomenal success Mr. President of the” Year of Return” as we look towards the year beyond return” High Commissioner Iain Walker said.
As part of the event, two-panel discussions were held. The first panel comprising Edward Ashong Lartey, Director of Investor Services, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Valerie Labi, Country Director of IDE Ghana, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, MD Zeepay, Tony Tahoe, CO-Founder TD Afrique and Adjoba Kyiamah of UKGCC, considered the topic “Investing in Ghana”.
The second panel focused on “Bridging the Gap – Investing Skills” and the panel included Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Agyeman, CEO Ghana Tourism Authority, Christabel Dadzie, Founder and Co-Chair, Ahaspora Professionals Network, Jessica Hagan, Programme Manager for Arts and Creative Economies, British Council and Dentaa Amoateng OBE, Founder and CEO, GUBA.