Chief Executive Officer for the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyemang says Ghana is ready to move beyond the Year of Return through the sustainability of diaspora relationships built on the positive impact of the initiative.
“The Year of Return was an opportunity for us to be opened and have a conversation about who we are, where we come from and the resilience that we exhibited over the past 400 years.
“Those years are a milestone that we must use as a land mark to say yes, this thing happened but never again will it be repeated. But first we must come together to rebuild and that is what we are going to do as we draw the curtains down on the initiative.”
President Akufo-Addo in September 2018, launched the Year of Return to officially invite all descendants of Africans who were captured and transported as slaves to come back home.
The initiative which commenced in January 2019 had over eighty events slated to give participants a feel of the Ghanaian culture through musical concerts, arts exhibitions, carnivals, cultural festivals among others.
While praising the initiative that brought the likes of Steve Harvey, Samuel L Jackson, Anthony Anderson, Micheal Jai White, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons and Rick Ross to the country, many have questioned what will happen when the year ends.
But speaking at the African Ancestry Family Reunion held at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, Akwasi Agyemang said a new initiative dubbed Beyond the Return will commence to not only connect diasporas to their homes across Africa but encourage investment and partnerships.
“Beyond the year of return, we don’t want to see each other as visitors. We want to do business together. We are not going to see ourselves as people just coming in but helping to grow our motherland. We won’t be people just passing through but people exchanging ideas and skills.
“We know the African Ancestry Family Reunion is going to be a very strong pillar for what we will do. You know Ghana is the gateway to Africa and we love to share so we don’t mind people coming through Ghana before moving to other African countries. That’s is what the whole idea of beyond the return is about.”