Ghana Government begins work on policy to regularize Diaspora engagements

The Government of Ghana is putting measures to meet challenges Ghanaian Diaspora are facing in their quest to come back to the country. To this end, the government is putting together a policy document to regularize issues affecting these Diasporans.

This was revealed by the Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Akwasi Awua Ababio who also said his office has been tasked to spearhead the exercise. Speaking to the media on the fringes of the three days 3rd Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit at the Accra International Conference Centre, Ababio said, a draft document on the matter will soon be submitted to parliament for consideration.

Director, Diaspora Affairs of the Office of the President, Akwasi Awua Ababio

The Diaspora Affairs Office has begun broad stakeholder consultation which has seen them embark on international roadshows in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean to solicit inputs from the wider African and most especially Ghanaian Diaspora. Ababio said although the process had begun sometime back, his outfit have sought assistance to clear any hurdle for the process to continue.

“As a country, we need to have a policy on Diaspora as to how the diaspora can be engaged, as to how we define our relationship and the mobilization of the people in the diaspora. That document, I am happy to say has been in existence for some time, but is not a finalized document, it has always been in a draft state.

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivering the keynote address at the Summit

“We’ve taken the bull by the horn for those who were owed for which reason work had stalled, we are now in the process of taking the step forward through the assistance of some international communities and some sponsorships, we have been able to do further consultations on this document.

“We are going to look at the document here at the summit after which we will submit it to government and cabinet for review when we have the final draft. We will then forward it to parliament so that it becomes a policy on how we will engage the diaspora” he said.

A scene from one of the many panel discussions at the three-day Summit

Mr. Awua Ababio said the Ghanaian Diaspora extends beyond Ghanaian citizens and their immediate relatives living abroad and includes people of African descent and people with vested interest in the country, hence the creation of the Diaspora Affairs at the Presidency to attend to the needs of such individuals.

He mentioned for example that s his office has taken steps to form a legal team to lobby appropriate stakeholders for the amendment of Articles 8(2) and 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, which restrict the Rights of Ghanaians with Dual Citizenship to fully participate in Ghana’s socio economic discourse. This had been alluded to by President Akufo-Addo in his keynote address at the opening of the Summit on Wednesday.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi presenting the official Year of Return cloth to the President at the opening of the Summit

He said it was their belief that, the removal of the constitutional restrictions will quicken government’s commitment to “allow Ghanaians living abroad to participate fully in national discourse and benefit fully from the opportunities this nation has to offer.”

The Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit has become a biennial event to rally Ghanaians living abroad to dialogue, network and explore economic and investment opportunities in Ghana in furtherance of the President’s Agenda of Ghana beyond Aid.

From L-R: CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman and Yoofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre at the event

The theme of the third edition is to highlight and celebrate the various achievements of the Diaspora towards Ghana’s development.
Highlights have been the outdooring of the official cloth for the Year of Return by the President and the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

A Presidential Ball will culminate activities marking the 3rd Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra on Saturday, July 6.

These pageant Queens beautifully clad the Year of Return cloth

Click here to see more pictures from the 3rd Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit

By: Samuel Obeng Appah

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