President Akufo-Addo has described the outline of the ‘Year of Return’ initiative as one that has brought about togetherness and recognition as one people on the continent.
According to him, the initiative has allowed the citizenry and persons from the diaspora, an opportunity to solidify the relations between us (Ghana) and both sides of the Atlantic.
“We seek to achieve something quite simple in terms of recognition that we are both parts and parcel of one African family, it is important for us, it is important for our sense of self-worth, sense of identity and certainly to any efforts we are making to empower ourselves in the world,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known during an interview with renowned American Journalist, Roland Martin at the Jubilee House in Accra on December 28, 2019.
In terms of investment and commerce, the President explained that once the acknowledgment, recognition and awareness has been centered around the ‘Year of Return’ initiative, a whole edifice for investments can be built around it.
“Once the acknowledgment, recognition and awareness that we are part and parcel of the same family has been established, on that you can build everything else, you can build comfort exchanges, commercial exchanges, investment corporations – a whole edifice for investments can be found”
Adding that; “Once that fundamental base of family is recognized, then on it you can build all the relations that suggest themselves and that of course entails building economic relations,” he further explained.
President Akufo-Addo lauded the initiative as one that has the possibility of taking the country into a new space and therefore a new recognition by the world of who we are as a race and a people.
Year of Return initiative
Earlier in September 2018, President Akufo-Addo at the Washington Press Club, in Washington D.C-USA, proclaimed 2019 as the "Year of Return" with an aim to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora.
Its purpose was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the time when the first 20 West African slaves were brought to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which subsequently became part of the United States of America, thereby initiating one of the most unfortunate and barbaric episodes of human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. With 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the West Coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported, was located in Ghana.
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) the implementing agency for the initiative under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, has been at the forefront of bringing all stakeholders together, in what is expected to be a focused drive at the empowerment of black people, using Ghana as the hub.