According to the Senior Minister, one cannot highlight ‘Beyond the Return’ without mentioning the Year of Return in 2019 which was a major landmark campaign targeting the the historical African community outside the continent.
This initiative mainly invited black people from across the diaspora to return to the African continent in 2019 purposely to mark the 400 years when slaves where shipped from West African coasts to the Americas.
Hon. Osafo-Maafo intimated that as a follow-up initiative to the project, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture inaugurated a 17-member steering committee to establish a 10-year plan of building on the momentum of the Year of Return under the theme; “A Decade of Renaissance – 2020 – 2030” has been rolled out to encourage and attract investments from the diaspora to help improve the heritage infrastructure of the country and others.
“To consolidate the gains on the Year of Return and grow tourism in the country, the government seeks to showcase its investment potentials and solidify its diaspora engagement programme to promote the African Renaissance under seven pillars”, he said.
The following are the seven pillars of the “Beyond the Return” campaign.
1. Experience Ghana: With this pillar, global African family are expected to visit and experience Ghana. This will help create memorable experiences through Sankofa, festivals, cultural events, entertainment, nightlife, culinary experience and December atmosphere in Ghana and also establish long-term connections with the Ghanaian and the African Diaspora.
2. Invest in Ghana: This pillar will create special investment programmes and ease of doing business for the diasporan. Some key activities will include; Diaspora Investment programmes, Sankofa Savings accounts and Diaspora Housing schemes.
3. Diaspora Pathways to Ghana: This pillar will see to the adoption of legal and policy frameworks on visa acquisition (E-visa) and institution of a diaspora visa through Citizenship Programmes, Educational and Work Exchanges, Residence and Work Permits. US and Ghana Armed Forces Partner to Provide Critical Medical Supplies and PPE to Ashanti and Western Regional Hospitals.
4. Celebrate Ghana: This will create a sense of national consciousness anchored on key cultural festivals onto the national calendar and promotion of domestic tourism.
5. Brand Ghana: This pillar seeks to promote Ghana as a leading tourism destination and a hub for the African renaissance. It will create a new narrative on Ghana and strategically promote Ghana to the world.
6. Give Back To Ghana: This pillar will foster a new sense of community service and giving that will create ongoing legacies for the project. Services will include; tree planting, community clean-ups and adoption of certain community impact projects.
7. Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation: This pillar will focus on promoting Pan-African and Ghanaian heritage and developing pilgrimage infrastructure around sites of memory. Development of tourism infrastructure for targeted sites will be extended beyond the highly frequented sites of Cape Coast and Elmina dungeons to areas such as Salaga Slave Market, Pikworo Slave Camp, Assin Manso among others.
Senior Minister stated that we must help make Ghana the place for investment, progress and prosperity and not a place where the youth flee in hope of accessing the proverbial greener pastures in Europe or the Americas under terrible conditions. To this end, the 7 pillars will firmly drive the “Beyond the Return” project to do more for Ghana.