Ghana is in the process of developing the Diaspora Engagement Policy to harness the human and material resources of the diaspora for socio-economic transformation.
The Policy, when adopted, will provide for the leveraging of investment benefits and privileges through strategies that promote foreign direct investment to Ghana from the diaspora.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said this during the first Diaspora Business Breakfast Meeting in Accra.
She said the Ministry was working in collaboration with the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to finalise the Policy, which would soon be submitted to Cabinet for approval.
The event, organised by the GIPC, with support from the Beyond the Return Secretariat, was on the theme: “Creating Connections – Building Ghana… Together.”
The meeting is expected to be a convergence of ‘Diasporans’ with skills, technical know-how and capital, who are ready and willing to invest in Ghana’s economy to support the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, while re-integrating members of the diaspora into the Ghanaian economy.
She said the Policy would further enable government to mainstream diaspora investments, skills and knowledge transfer into development planning, in addition to the promotion of made-in-Ghana products abroad through expos and fairs.
“It will also call for the design of attractive financial packages to enhance diaspora investment for development,” she said.
It has four strategic objectives: Promote capacity building and enhance diaspora-homeland relationship for benefit of both parties; provide the legal instrument to extend some rights and privileges enjoyed in Ghana to Ghanaians in the Diaspora, mobilise resources for sustainable development; and facilitate the production and dissemination of accurate and relevant data for sustainable engagement with the diaspora.
The Foreign Minister lauded the GIPC for the establishment of the Diaspora Investment Desk at the Centre, which is an addition to the existing institutional setup for engaging the diaspora.
Ms Botchway said the Diaspora Affairs Unit within Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora Desk at Ghana Missions abroad would now have a focal point at the Centre to channel all requests for information regarding the vast investment opportunities in Ghana.
“I am keen on complementing each other with a view to ensuring that the diaspora community is constantly engaged in order to build and maintain a healthy economic relationship between Ghana and its diaspora,” she added.
The Minister said it was an attestation to the fact that the celebration of the “Year of Return” had proven that when the diaspora was effectively engaged, the nation derived huge economic dividends.
The resounding success of the “Year of Return” in galvanizing the diaspora should motivate the country to develop more innovative programmes and activities for sustained engagement.
Mr Yofi Grant, the GIPC Chief Executive Officer, said government through the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, and the Beyond the Return initiative had formally acknowledged the importance of the Diaspora and its valuable contribution to the economy.
The “Year of Return” initiative in 2019 heralded the official welcome of people in the Diaspora to Ghana and further bestowed citizenship on several of them, he said.
He said the Centre’s Diaspora Investment Desk was to embark on targeted promotional activities to attract investment adding that government had created the “Sankofa Savings Account” for that purpose.
He urged the Diaspora community to take advantage of investment opportunities in energy, infrastructures, agro-processing, tourism and manufacturing,