Ghana on Wednesday launched its maiden Diaspora Investment Summit to create an avenue to foster partnerships between local and Diaspora investors.
The summit sought to showcase Ghana as a destination of choice for doing business to spur the inflow of Diaspora Direct Investments.
Madam Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the Chief of Staff, who opened the two-day summit in Accra, said the diaspora community played an important role in the economic development of the country through foreign direct investments, promotion of trade and technology transfer.
The event was on the theme: "The New Normal, leveraging Diaspora investments to build back better."
It was held under the auspices of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Information, the Diaspora Affairs Office at the Office of the President, Diaspora Africa Forum, and Beyond the Return Secretariat under the Ghana Tourism Authority.
She said Ghana since 1960 had become home to many returnees from American, Anglophone and Caribbean Diaspora, through the efforts of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the First President, and successive governments to unite them to their home.
Madam Opare said the government, recognising the importance of the Diasporan Community, established the Diaspora Affairs office, at the Office of the President in February 2017, to serve as a link between their country of residence and Ghana by providing market access, sources of expertise and knowledge.
She indicated that the summit was consistent with the recent "Beyond the Return" initiative, which was a follow-up to the "Year of Return" campaign that was launched in 2019.
The Chief of Staff said the "Year of Return" campaign resulted in an increased number of visits estimated at over 237,000 from January to September.
Madam Erieka Bennett, the Ambassador of the Diaspora Forum at the African Union, commended Ghana for establishing a Diaspora Office, and organizing the summit and always leading the way for the rest to follow.
She noted that the initiative was in line with the conviction of Africa Union Leaders that to move Africa forward there was the need to include the diaspora.
Madam Bennett said that Ghana had become the home of diaspora and that many had returned to engage in different streams of businesses from security, food processing factories, chiropractic and wellness, and real estate.
Mr Yofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, said Ghana had taken a new path of industrialisation and was moving its economy from exporting raw materials to value addition, thereby creating opportunities for its citizens.
He indicated that there was the need to harness the potential of the diaspora, including capital, skill, knowledge, culture exchanges and technology transfer for national and continental development.
He said the government was developing the Homeland Act to define the protocols of engagement with the diaspora, while the Diaspora Secretariat at the Office of the President was formulating Diaspora Policy.
Mr Grant said Ghana was not only the best place for doing business in West Africa but the fastest growing economy in the world, according to the World Bank's Ease of Doing.
The country, he said had developed into an established business destination for investors seeking a conducive business environment, committed and progressive government-private sector participation, political stability, transparent regulations and a dynamic private sector ready for partnerships.
Mr Grant stated that the government had introduced many interventions, including the Ghana CARES programme to stabilize, revitalize and transform Ghana's economy to create jobs and prosperity for Ghanaians over three years.
"Let us all remember that the destiny of all black people no matter where they are in the world is bound up with Africa. We must help make Africa the place for investment, progress and prosperity and not from where our youth flee in the hope of accessing the mirage of a better life in Europe or the Americas," he said.