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General News Fri, 30 Jun 2006

Joseph Project would focus on African Unity - Jake

Accra, June 30, GNA - The Joseph Project, which is aimed at attracting millions of tourists to Ghana, would focus on uniting Africans all over the world, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporean Relations, said on Friday.

The Project seeks to encourage every African in the Diaspora to embark on a pilgrimage to Ghana at least once in a lifetime, then subsequently as tourists and eventually as investors.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday, explained that the Project to be launched next year sought to make the 21st century the 93African Century=94 by reconciling African people so that their positive spirit and strength would be released in a focused manner.

The Joseph Project based on the Biblical story of Joseph, who having been sold into slavery by his brothers, became the Prime Minister of Egypt and eventually saved his people. The Minister said the Government intended to introduce a Diaspora Visa, which when granted after an initial visit, would allow holders free entry to Ghana.

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The African Union Diaspora Visa would be located in Ghana, he said. The Project would start off with a gathering in Ghana of Africans in the Diaspora and chiefs from the West African Coast whose predecessors were active in facilitating the slave trade to appease the returnees on behalf of their ancestors.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said some slave forts and castles would be converted into museums that would be used to demonstrate the African excellence, the strength of Africans in the Diaspora, who rose and continued to rise far above their chains to display excellence.

"It is expected that Ghanaians and Africans living in the Diaspora would draw inspiration upon entering the fort to overcome all life's challenges as it would not only tell the story of man's inhumanity to man but also tell the continual struggle for freedom in Africa," he said.

Source: GNA
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