Welcome address by Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio, Director, Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President,
At the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit 2019, Accra International Conference Centre
July 3 – 6, 2019.
It is my privilege as the Director of the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President to welcome you on behalf of the Planning Committee of the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit.
The Ghanaian Diaspora extends beyond Ghanaian citizens and their immediate relatives living abroad but includes people of African descent and people with vested interest in the country.
In fulfilling his commitment to involve Ghanaians living abroad in Ghana’s development, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, established the Diaspora Affairs Office at the Presidency.
The Office coordinates more effectively on all matters affecting overseas Ghanaians.
The homecoming summit is instituted as a biennial event to rally Ghanaians living abroad to dialogue, network and explore economic and investment opportunities in Ghana in furtherance of the President’s Agenda of Ghana beyond Aid.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2019 Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit, builds on the previous ones, especially the 2017 event, following the maiden one held in 2001 under the leadership of H.E. John A. Kufuor.
The aim of this third summit is to highlight and celebrate the various achievements of the Diaspora towards Ghana’s development. The Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President over the last two years have responded to the following needs of the Diaspora.
Formation of a legal team to lobby appropriate stakeholders for the amendment of Articles 8(2) and 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, which restrict the Rights of Ghanaians with Dual Citizenship to fully participate in Ghana’s socio economic discourse.
Mr. President, we appreciate the fact that you have engaged many of our compatriots in various state institutions and agencies. Your Excellency, we sincerely believe that, the removal of the constitutional restrictions will quicken your commitment to “allow Ghanaians living abroad to participate fully in our national discourse and benefit fully from the opportunities this nation has to offer.” We are grateful and count on your continuous support to achieve equal citizenship and political participation.
On the implementation of the Representation of The People’s Amendment Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284), (alias ROPAL).
Our team continuously engages the Electoral Commission with practical suggestions towards implementation. We sincerely believe that our Diaspora/Homeland engagement could be further strengthened by implementation of the right of Ghanaians abroad to vote.
The Diaspora Magazine-is quarterly publication by our Office to engage Ghanaians living abroad. The publication is financed through corporate advertisement and sponsorship. It provides an avenue for Ghanaians living abroad to receive and contribute their views on Ghana’s political discourse.
Voluntary Faculty-Through this initiative we encourage Ghanaian professionals abroad to return home and offer their expertise free of charge to communities across the country.
Diaspora Engagements-Facilitation of Diaspora led investments and initiatives in Ghana and Abroad.
Collaboration with International Agencies such as IOM, German Government, EU, British High Commission and others to ensure efficient and sustainable migration to promote Ghana’s development.
Diaspora Database-an opportunity to take the bull by the hone with Diaspora Apps to capture data on Ghanaians living abroad.
On the larger economic front, government is increasingly leveraging on technology and E-governance to improve service delivery. There has been massive improvement in our port clearing services, payment systems and money transfer systems.
THE DIASPORA ENGAGEMENT POLICY
It is a strategic document to promote constructive commitments between Ghana and its diaspora for the purpose of leveraging mutual benefits.
Recently, we consulted Ghanaians in the UK and Germany on the draft policy and deplored an online survey to solicit more views to enrich the document.
I am glad to inform you that there is going to be a further opportunity for you in one of our breakout sessions to contribute to the final draft.
Specifically, the policy addresses the following issues of the diaspora community among others:
Enhancing Diaspora-Homeland Relationship
Issues of Citizenship/Nationality and Rights
Social Security and its Portability
Political Incorporation and Voting Rights
Social Protection and Human Rights at Destinations
Creating Linkages between the Second and Third Generation Diasporas and Ghana, their homeland
Creating Linkages between the Youthful Diaspora and Ghana
Leveraging mutual Investment benefits and privileges
Mobilizing Remittances (ideas, skills, funding) for Sustainable Development
Return, Re-admission and Reintegration
Diaspora engagement has come to stay. You are all warmly welcome.