In 2000, Ghana was urging people of African descent to come “home” and apply for dual citizenship. The country had passed legislation designed to make it easier for people from the African diaspora to live and work in the country.
As it happened I had a trip planned to Accra. Before traveling, I called the Ghana Consulate in New York and was told that the process was still in the works. I was directed to a website to fill out an application.
Once in Accra, I took my application to the Ministry of the Interior but was told again that the process had not been finalized. Everything was still in the beginning stages.
Fast forward to 2019 and Ghana is once again urging Black people to come “home.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo has designated 2019 the “Year of Return” both “to commemorate the resilience of Africans forced into slavery and to encourage their descendants to ‘come home,’” Independent Online reported.
Many Black people have moved “back” to Ghana. According to 2014 estimates, more than 3,000 African-Americans and people of Caribbean descent live in Ghana, according to the UN.
“We know of the extraordinary achievements and contributions they (Africans in the diaspora) made to the lives of the Americans, and it is important that this symbolic year, 400 years later, we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices,” he said September 2018.
August 1619 marked the first landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia.
To mark the anniversary, Ghana threw a Full Circle Festival in Accra in late December, attended by celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Idris Elba, and Rosario Dawson.
Although the come-home initiative was launched in 2000, Akufo-Addo’s Akufo-Addo has pledged in 2019 to simplify the visa process and has organized a slew of year-long events focusing on slavery and the diaspora.
Christabel Dadzie, a Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank, The World Bank founded the Ahaspora Young Professionals and Ahaspora! Watchgroup to help those in the diaspora make the transition to Ghana.
Dadzie who has spent a decade working in the U.S., hopes that 12 months of celebration will inspire Ghanaians in the diaspora to move back, News 24 reported.
Ahaspora! has a network of about 2,000 people, and the group answers questions like how to get a job, where to find a babysitter or even a grocery shop in Ghana.
Dadzie people moving to Ghana “come home and do amazing entrepreneurial things so actually thrive here.”
Written by Ann Brown