The African diaspora has been encouraged by the president of the republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to shift the narrative about Africa, which has mostly focused on sickness, famine, poverty, and illegal mass migration.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2022, President Akufo-Addo said at the Young African and Diasporan Leaders’ Summit, which was held concurrently with the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., that “the urgent responsibility we face is to make our countries and our continent attractive for our people to see them as places of opportunities.”
President Akufo-Addo claims that history is full with instances when diasporan groups have positively impacted the growth and development of nations through expanded trade activities, growing investments, and the transfer of skills and expertise.
The President gave the audience, which included US Vice President Kamala Harris, the example of China, which has a population of 60 million émigrés, noting that the Chinese Diaspora is thought to be the 25th largest country in the world, with $2.5 trillion in assets, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
“When foreign companies, in the late 1970s, reduced their investments in China, it was the Chinese Diaspora that shored up the economy. According to the Washington D.C. based Migration Policy Institute (MPI), half of the foreign direct investment, i.e. $26 billion, that transformed China into a manufacturing powerhouse in the 1990s, originated from the Chinese Diaspora,” he added.
The President pointed out that this serves as the foundation for Ghana’s “Beyond the Return” project, which he indicated builds on the significant success of the “Year of Return” and the reinvigorated passion for constructing Africa as a whole.
In order to reframe the narrative of Africa, which has mostly focused on sickness, famine, poverty, and illegal mass migration, he pushed young African and Diasporan leaders.
“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 should never forget that famous admonition of the celebrated Jamaican reggae star, Peter Tosh, when he said: ‘Don’t care where you come from. As long as you’re a black man, you’re an African’”, President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “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, Asia or the Americas. That is what “Beyond the Return” seeks to do, so we can derive maximum dividends from our relations with the diaspora in mutually beneficial co-operation, and as partners for shared growth and development.”
After the African peoples, following Ghana’s shining example, freed themselves from the colonial and imperialist yoke and the racist ideology of apartheid in the second half of the 20th century, the President was optimistic that the first half of the 21st century would consolidate this development and see the rise of modern, prosperous, technologically advanced nations within a united Africa, which would advance human freedom and progress.
“We have done enough talking, and, dare I say, we have had enough conferences and workshops. We know what we need to do. It is time just to do it. We have run out of excuses for the state of our continent. We have the manpower, we should have the political will, it is time to make Africa work.,” President Akufo-Addo stated.