The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority have officially launched the ‘2019 Year of Return’.
The event is part of activities to mark 400 years after the first slaves arrived in the USA in 1619.
The programme will, as well, be launched in the USA in September this year, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The initiative, in partnership with the Panafest Foundation, Office of Diaspora Relations at the Presidency, the Adinkra Group of USA and the African American Association of Ghana is expected to converge over 500 African Americans from the diaspora in Ghana.
Instructively, an 8-member steering committee, has been set to plan the upcoming event, chaired by the Director of Diaspora Relations at the Presidency, Mr. Kwesi Awuah Ababio.
Other members include Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy, Mr. Reginald Laryea, Mrs. Roberta Dawson Amoah, Mr. Ben Anane-Nsiah and Diallo Sumbry, among others.
GTA’s CEO, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, explained that the ‘Year of Return 2019’ is to connect all persons of African descent, using Ghana as the gateway.
Activities earmarked to celebrate the event, include a concert by Damian Marley in January and Fuse ODG, the ‘Back2Africa’ concert to celebrate black history month in February, Independence Day activities in March liaised with the cultural celebration of 20 years of enstoolment of Asantehene.
A homecoming summit targeting second and third generation Ghanaians in the diaspora, Panafest and Emancipation will be held in July, in August 2019 an African American Investment Forum will be held. In November, the Ghana Carnival will take place with the climax being the Afrochella in December, targeting the youth.
However, Mr. Agyeman said the event secretariat at the Accra Tourism Information Centre will continuously receive inputs and suggestions into the organization of the upcoming event, including the granting of licenses and franchises to participating groups and individuals.
“This project is Ghanaian journey, an African journey and we want to give the opportunity to our brothers in the diaspora to unite with us to celebrate the resilience and determination of the black race after 400 years,” Mr. Agyeman said.
Kwesi Awuah Ababio said initiatives such as the Joseph Project, Panafest and the Homecoming Summit have already endeared Ghana to a host of people in the diaspora as the country has been noted for initiating projects that reconciles the diaspora with the continent.
He noted that the event, will further deepen the quest for investors and businesses in the diaspora to consider investing in Ghana.
“What we anticipate is the desire for our brothers in the diaspora to consider investing here while sharing knowledge with us in key sectors to further deepen our developmental agenda,” Ababio said.