Emigration is one of the biggest problems facing the African continent. This mass movement of people has led to brain-drain. However, governments of different African countries are taking steps to encourage their citizens to return home. One of such steps is through giving them a voice as partners in nation building. The government of Ghana declared 2019 Year of Return. Consequently, a draft Diaspora Engagement Policy is now ready for stakeholders’ input. This is coming ahead of the 2019 homecoming summit.
Making the announcement was Mr. Akwasi Awuah Ababio, the Director of Diasporan Affairs at the Office of the President. At a media briefing on June 10, 2019, in Accra, Mr. Ababio said the unveiling of the document will be at the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit holding from 3rd to 6th of July 2019. However, the highpoint of the event will be a gala on the 6th. Mr. Ababio said,
“This document [the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy] will be tabled, outdoor and sealed by delegates attending the summit. The policy document covers all aspects and concerns by diasporans and will become the guiding principle and the policy that every government will work with relative to diasporans affiliated to Ghana. We encourage all to attend the summit to find out more about what the document entails.”
The aim of the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy
There are numerous professionals of African origin in Europe and America. Consequently, the aim of the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy is to encourage these professionals to bring these skills and professionalism back home. According to Mr. Ababio, if diasporans bring back their financial resources and investment opportunities home, it will enhance nation-building.
The details of the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy remain sketchy. However, one thing is clear, all participants at the summit will have the opportunity to see the full details of the document and make inputs. The goal is to produce a document that will guide the relationship of the Ghanaian government with the diaspora community. In this regards, Mr. Ababio said,
“This policy document [the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy] covers all aspects and concerns by Diasporas. [Consequently, it] would become the guiding principle and the policy with which every government would work with, relative to the Diasporan affiliated to Ghana.”
Expectations of the summit
The Ghanaian government has a high expectation for the summit. No doubt, the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy emphasizes Ghanaian citizens in the diaspora. However, non-Ghanaians with a strong interest in the country’s nation-building process will also have a chance to make contributions. According to Mr. Ababio,
“We are expecting delegates from the over 50 countries that will be attending the three-day summit. To aid Ghana’s socio-economic development, help maintain its position as a leader on the African continent and network with like-minded people.”
There will be keynote addresses from the President and Vice President. However, several ministers in attendance will also get a chance to speak. Consequently, the conference will also showcase numerous local industries and services in the country. Mr. Ababio further said,
“The private sector will feature highly, with key players in the sector participating throughout the conference. [Hpowever,] panel discussions will be diverse and will include mixed-gender speakers and young professionals.”
However, to create awareness of the event, there have been several meetings and roadshows among stakeholders in the participating countries. Countries, where roadshows took place, include the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Belgium.