Year Of Return 2019: Ghana To Host 500,000 Diasporans
Ghana will host about 500,000 diasporans from across the world this year to celebrate the “Year of Return 2019.”
The event is to commemorate 400 years of the first docking of ship that carried Africans into slavery in the Americas.
The launch of the event on Tuesday brought together Pan Africans and some government officials who discussed the benefits the event will have on the country.
The year-long event is expected to bring about 350,000 people from North America and 150,000 from the Caribbean and Latin America.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Akwasi Awua Ababio, said the event marked a sordid and sad period when some Ghanaians were forcefully taken away into years of deprivation, humiliation and torture.
He said Ghana’s leadership in Africa’s quest to be free, united, politically and economically independent was well recognised and had been noted as a ‘gate of return’ to people in the diaspora.
He said over the years, the governments had sought through various initiatives to connect and re-connect with people in the diaspora through programmes such as the Joseph Project, PANAFEST, Emancipation Day and Homecoming Summit.
Mr Ababio said all these activities were geared towards drawing awareness and making Ghana the seat of African Emancipation.
The “Year of Return,” he said, took inspiration from the Joseph Project and leaders such as Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Mr George Padmore and Dr W.E.B. Du Bois who led and gave foundation to Pan Africanism with series of activities, actions and interactions spearheaded by Ghana.
“As Ghana continue to be the headquarters for the fight for African liberation and the symbol of hope for African emancipation, our nation continues to seek deeper socio-cultural, economic and political inclusion for our kith and kin from the Diaspora,” he said.
Mr Ababio said the government was committed to improve on the economy and discourage irregular migration by making sure that the young men and women could achieve their dreams in the country.
He said his outfit was working with other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and academia to pursue diaspora policies and engagements strategies and embrace the diaspora community to make the event a success.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive said activities lined up for the event included African Culture and Wellness Festival, Black History Month, Back2Africa festival, Pan African Student Summit.
Other activities are Ghana Jamaican Homecoming festival, Waxprint film documentary festival, Black Prophet Homecoming celebration, Emancipation Day, Marcus Garvey Award Ball and banquet, Natural Hair Expo, Jamestown-to Jamestown and African American Business Investment and Development Summit.
He called on the private sector, especially those in the tourism industry to take advantage of the event to boost their economic fortunes and that of the country.