President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described Ghana as the safest country in West Africa, and, is, therefore, asking Africans in the diaspora to come, explore and experience Ghana in this ‘Year of Return’.
Addressing the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, 12 June, 2019, President Akufo-Addo stated that: “In today’s world, where sadly crime and terror have become part of everyday life, I can say that Ghana is certainly the safest country in the West African region, and remains one of the few places on earth where we are not embarrassed to see ourselves as each other’s keeper.”
Ghana, the President stressed, is full of stunning views and scenery that Ghanaians tend to take for granted, but which visitors find breath-taking.
“However, the most attractive and the greatest selling point of Ghana is and has always been her people, the Ghanaian people. The welcome that you find in Ghana, with all due respect to you in this House, is unique, and like none anywhere else,” he added.
The President continued, “Our foods are interesting, and tend to be once sampled, never forgotten. I suspect I do not need to remind you that we are the home of Kente, the fabric that has come to define the black race everywhere, and we lead in fashion on the continent. Our music is catchy and unforgettable, and the drums and rhythms make us stand out.”
President Akufo-Addo told the House that the Year of Return is being used as a bridge to build stronger ties between Ghana, those on the continent, and the African Diaspora.
“To those of you who would want to come and stay, we say you are most welcome. Africa is your home, and Ghana would be happy to serve as the bridge between the Diaspora and the African continent,” he added.
The President, who is undertaking a five-nation tour of the Caribbean as part of efforts to promote the “Year of Return, told the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival in America of West African slaves.
“We are remembering the anniversary to underline our determination that, never again, will Africa allow herself and her people to be subjected to such an obscene, degrading and dehumanizing catastrophe”, President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “Never again shall it be that a dozen or so armed foreigners, with the connivance of a few of our own people, would reduce Africans to traded commodities.”
With the African Union designating the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the AU, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “they might have started as slaves, but the contribution of Africans to the development of the Americas and Caribbean is matchless.”
With Africans in the Diaspora having provided the labour that built American railways and American industries and, generally, American infrastructure, as well as those of the Caribbean, the President also referred to the role of Africans in innovation, in science, in sports, in music, in the arts, and in the fashioning of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Inventions that Africans in the Americas have to their names, he said, include, the fibre-optic cable, pacemaker, blood bank, gas masks, traffic signals, world’s fastest computer, Voice over IP, closed circuit television, amongst others.
In the sporting world, President Akufo-Addo added that Africans in the diaspora have shown that they are not afraid of hard work and discipline, with football, athletics, basketball, and many other games having been taken to new heights as a result of the efforts of the descendants of those who were forcibly transported to the Americas.
“It says on the last door leading out of the dungeon from the slave castles that dot our coastline, DOOR OF NO RETURN. Let us show we CAN return, we have returned, and we have conquered the humiliation and degradation of 400 years ago,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The Home Coming and Investment Summit, the African-American Investment Forum, the Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations, the durbar from Jamestown to Jamestown, the Film Festival, and the Full Circle Festival are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.