Year of Return Initiative Must be a Constant Feature to Engage the Diaspora – Madam Ayorkor Botchwey

The success of the “Year of Return” Initiative should spur Ghana on into developing innovative programmes to constantly engage the diaspora. This is according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.

The programme which was held last year saw many tourists and diasporans troop to Ghana to rekindle their ties with their heritage.

Speaking at the Diaspora Business Breakfast Meeting organized by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in Accra on Tuesday, 17 November 2020, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey underscored the economic benefits Ghana can derive from such an initiative.

“You will attest to the fact that the celebration of the ‘Year of Return’ has proven that when the diaspora is effectively engaged, the nation derives huge economic dividends. 

“The resounding success of the ‘Year of Return’ in galvanizing the diaspora, should motivate us to develop innovative programmes and activities for a sustained diaspora engagement,” the minister said.

She, therefore, called on stakeholders to support the ‘Beyond the Return’ programme to make the country an ultimate choice of destination for persons in the diaspora.

“In this regard, the implementation of the “Beyond the Return” programme, which is a ten-year project to grow Ghana’s tourism industry and to showcase its investment potential, should receive the active support of all key stakeholders. The ‘Beyond the Return’ programme should be an avenue to continuously market Ghana, as the preferred destination for the diaspora.”

The minister further noted that the country can take advantage of initiatives such as ‘Beyond the Return’, to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected most world economies. 

“Our recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will largely depend on how we can take advantage of programmes such as the ‘Beyond the Return’, to strategically reposition key sectors of the economy, particularly tourism, to generate jobs, create prosperity and economic opportunities for the youth.

“The coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with trading set to commence on 1st January 2021, is another opportunity for the diaspora to step up their trade and investment engagements in the country. This will enable the diaspora to take advantage of the continental market size of 1.2 billion and the corresponding gross domestic product of 3 trillion US dollars created by the AFCFTA,” the minister noted.

Story: Henry George

Henry George Martinson |

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