The government decision to introduce the African Home Return Bill in Parliament was meant to integrate Diasporas and African heritage descents coming to Ghana, the Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mr Okraku Mantey has explained.
He said the bill when passed into law would remove all impediments which could stall the integration and ensure their permanent stay and property acquisitions were given priority by the law.
The Deputy Minister made this known at a three-day event being hosted by Ghana to mark this year’s celebration of the “World Day for African and Afro-descendant Culture Day which has January 24 as its commemorative day.
The date coincided with the adoption of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance in 2006 by the Heads of State and governments of the African Union and UNESCO Conference in 2019.
The celebration which aimed to promote the ratification and implementation of a charter by African States to strengthen the role of culture in promoting peace on the continent had the theme; “African and Afro-descendant Culture for Peace and Sustainable Development.”
Mr Mantey explaining the concept of integration said in order to accelerate the process, the government initiated the “Year of Return” in 2019 which saw many people from the Diasporas flocking to Ghana to identify with their ancestry.
He said following the success of the “Year of Return,” the government complemented that with the concept of “Beyond the Return” with its seven thematic areas which sought to woo Diasporas to Ghana.
Mr Mantey said the Diasporas have a lot of professional skills and talents to share with the country, thus, the need to share their integration to enhance and accelerate the development of culture.
He said with Africans coming together to create a population of about 1.3 billion people with a value of 3.6 trillion dollars as the Gross Domestic Product indicated that African market integration had come of age for implementation.
Dr Erieka Bennett, Founder and Head of Mission at the Diaspora African Forum (DAF) said that the mission has been recognised as the first Diplomatic Mission dedicated to Africans Diaspora with an objective to always support the aims and objectives of the African Union (AU) while mobilising and developing Africa’s Diaspora.
“The Diaspora African Forum has a mission to support African Union in the representation of the African Diaspora and their strategic involvement of Africa,” she said.
She said one of their mandate was to pledge their support as change agent towards integration in the Diaspora while, strengthening Africa Diaspora engagement in Ghana and the continent.
Dr Bennett said the most monumental accomplishment of DAF was the realisation and citizenships deal on the continent with Ghana swearing in 34 and 126 African Diasporas as citizens of Ghana, in 2016 and 2019 respectively while another 110 were ready to take the oath of citizenship of the country.
She stated that the All Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIPO) was created to continue to concretise the Sixth Region and to ensure the AU’s Diaspora engagement while providing leadership, coordination, and practical guidance to all member states on how to establish and work within known Diaspora engagements structures and organisations.
The three-day celebration from January 24 to 26 would be marked with a series of activities including colloquium, visits to tours and heritage sites and a musical night aimed at promoting and celebrating the cultures of the African continent and African diasporas around the world for sustainable development.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI