Story written by: Bright Philip Donkor
Los Angelis City Council Member for the 9th District in California, Curren De Mille Price Jr, has paid a courtesy call on the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Awua Ababio and discussed with him issues of mutual cooperation and benefit.
He was accompanied by his wife Del Richardson Price, together with the Queen Mother of the Okogyeaman Tete Kwame Asona Royal from Ahwerase Akuapem in the Eastern Region, Ankobeahemaa Nana Akosua Sekyiaabea I, who is called Mrs Nehanda Sankofa-Ra and her husband, Mr Patrick Cobbinah.
During the call on Thursday December 30, 2022 at the Jubilee House, the Councilman seized the opportunity to indicate his readiness to partner with leaders in terms of investment, trade and businesses. The Diaspora Engagement and Innovation Lead, Einstein Ntim, was also present to welcome the Councilman.
Touting Ghana as a thriving place to do business that will give investors value for their investments, Curren Price Jr asked for the appropriate quarters to reach out when the time is due.
He hopes to have a feel of Ghana’s vast business potential and pursue bilateral trade and investment opportunities in the areas of agriculture, culture, arts, ICT, education, among others.
The Councilman said Ghana’s biggest advantage in the investment community is the political stability and peace enjoyed by the country – a condition that must not be taken for granted.
He stated that Ghana has been the number one choice for investment destination because of the political stability enjoyed by the country for decades.
“Ghana is a thriving place to do business that will give investors value for their investments. If you look closely, you will notice that all these big multinational companies moving here are doing so because they know that Ghana is a peaceful nation in the sub-region compared to its peers,” Curren observed.
He also had a dialogue with Mr Awua Ababio regarding ways to support African Americans in their transition to Ghana, especially the elderly who champion Ghana as a place to make home pre and post retirement.
Curren Price has been a strong advocate for culture and the arts. He initiated a Dia de los Muertos celebration in the District; he ushered in expansion of the iconic Central Avenue Jazz Festival and he funded acquisition of the historic Lincoln Theater for community use.
In early 2021, he inaugurated Angels Walk Central Avenue to further document the history and legacy of African Americans on Central Avenue.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Diaspora Affairs commended the Councilman for his numerous philanthropic works being undertaken in Los Angeles and across Africa.
He assured the team of the maximum support of the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President to achieve their stated objectives and vision for Ghana and the rest of Africa.
He was emphatic of the President’s call for “our fellow brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to come home and help shape the continent”.
“We have to engage the diaspora, so we have been doing a number of things throughout this short period of time courtesy by the President. And the most renowned one you may have heard is ‘The Year of Return’. The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” was a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia.
“The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture led the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the Panafest Foundation and the Adinkra Group of USA,” Mr Awua Ababio explained.
Mr Awua Ababio said it sort to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalisation by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, he indicated, Ghana became the beacon for African people living on the continent and the diaspora.
“The United States Congress had 2018 passed an Act H.R. 1242 – 400 Years of African-American, which was in itself a historically significant milestone. Ghana being the gateway to Africa capitalised on its unique position as the location for 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa. The favourable government policy of making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora served as the catalyst for the campaign,” he revealed.
According to him, ‘The Year of Return’ was supposed to be a year programme, but government has followed it up with ‘Beyond the Return’ to consolidate the gains made over the years.
He explained that the Diaspora Initiative is the succeeding initiative to the Year of Return by the Government of Ghana not only to promote tourism and home coming of Africans and Ghanaians in the diasporas but to foster economic relations and investments from the diaspora in Africa and Ghana.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs gave the audience a catalogue of businesses readily available in Ghana and said all an investor needs to do is to register with the Register Generals Department before coming to the appropriate quarters, like the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), who will guide the investor through the initial processes to get his or her business started.
He cited the Housing sector and said Ghana currently has a deficit of about 1,000,000 houses, making the sector one of the areas the government is ready to assist any investor willing to invest
He disclosed how the government has amended legislation to make doing business in Ghana easy to attract investors, especially Ghanaians in the Diaspora seeking to do business back home.
Mr. Awuah Ababio recounted the experiences of tourist touting Ghana as the Gateway to Africa after experiencing our Tourism, Arts, Culture and Hospitality industry. He therefore took the opportunity to welcome the Councilman to “Ghana, the Centre of the World” and assured him of the maximum support and co-operation of his office towards any investment venture.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs-Office of the President also stated that government comprehends the significant role of the diaspora community in economic development, and is therefore working assiduously to put in place the ‘National Diaspora Policy Framework’ to harmonise expertise and resources for development.
According to him, the policy comprises a variety of measures aimed at engaging, maintaining or developing a relationship with the African diaspora, as well as creating an enabling environment to turn remittances into investment and other productive ventures which promote development and create jobs.
He emphasised that the policy document, which is at the Cabinet level, is critical for coordinating activities of diasporans to derive maximum benefits from their resources, as well as expertise from their professionals.
“Our diaspora community has so much we can tap into to harmonise development. The diaspora office at the Presidency has been working over the past four years to properly shape the policy framework that will serve as a guide or roadmap to harness all the benefits we can imagine.
“Currently, professionals abroad only come home to visit family and friends for some weeks and go back without making any impact with their expertise or human capital. And so, with this policy framework, we create connections and provide the means for these professionals – like lawyers, doctors, engineers, ICT experts – to collaborate with similar professionals back home for development,” he said.
The Ghanaian Diaspora is considered an ally and a strategic resource by the Government of Ghana in her development efforts. It is broadly defined to include Ghanaian citizens or nationals, their immediate relations and others with roots to or interest in the country, who are domiciled abroad.
The Diaspora Affairs Office at the Office of the President (DAOOP) was established in February 2017. It works in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana Missions Abroad, Ghanaian Associations Abroad, other State Institutions, International Organizations and NGOs to promote the interest of Ghanaians in the diaspora and explore more meaningful ways in which the diaspora could contribute to Ghana’s socio-economic development for mutual benefit.
Touching on the mission of Diaspora Affairs, he stated that his office is to efficiently harness, mobilise, and steer Ghanaian resources in the Diaspora for political inclusion, economic and socio-cultural development.
“Our mission is achieved through a multi-stakeholder coordination approach, involving government ministries, Ghanaian Associations Abroad, the private sector, non-profit organizations and International organizations. The Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President (DAOOP), was established in February 2017.
“It is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director, an Administrator and a Youth Ambassador. The objective behind establishing the DAOOP at the Presidency, emphasises the importance the government places on the contributions Ghanaians in the Diaspora make to the economy,” he stated.
He concluded that Ghanaians in the Diaspora, serve in building bridges between their country of residence and Ghana by providing market access, sources of expertise, knowledge, investment and technology.
Story written by: Bright Philip Donkor. Writer’s email: email@example.com