By Gifty Arthur
Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has granted other nationals, Ghanaian citizenship after they put in requests.
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, who said this added that government, was also taking the necessary steps to grant citizenship, Dual citizenship and Right of Abode to the Diaspora as and when the need arises.
According to Mr Owiredu, who said this at a media briefing to update the media on government’s programme dubbed ‘The Year of Return’ designed to provide an avenue for Africans in the Diaspora, to return to their land of origin, said the request was granted in May 2019.
The Ministry, has also slashed the cost involved in acquiring visa on arrival in Ghana from 150 dollars previously to 75 dollars.
“This Ministry is working with the appropriate MDAs towards addressing the inconveniences in obtaining visa for travelling to Ghana to participate in the various events of the Year of Return. For instance, fees for visas on arrival had been reduced from $150 to$75”, he said.
The year-long event which was launched last December by President Akufo-Addo to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa on the shores of the United States of America (USA) will be marked with over 40 Diaspora events.
First event to have heralded this year’s celebration was the visit of some celebrated Hollywood movie makers including star actor Boris Kujoe, whose late father was a Ghanaian, last December followed by a musical concert This is the new Africa (TINA) led by afro-pop Ghanaian singer based in the UK, Fuse ODG.
Some of these programmes include, the Back2Africa Festival, Ghana Independence Day Celebration, Black History Month with the African American Association of Ghana, and Heritage Paragliding Festival in Kwahu,
The Pan African Student Summit, JaGha Reggae Festival, Wax Print festival, Africa Greek week.
Others are PANAFEST, Black Prophet Homecoming Celebration, Yenko festival Chale Wote, Afrochella, GOD BOX Spiritual Pilgrimage, Youth in Tourism festival and many more.
The objective of the 2019 ‘Year of Return’ the Deputy Minster said, is to reconnect with the roots of these African descendants, who through circumstances beyond their control, are living in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and others.
“With it s democratic credentials, rule of law and the stability of the economy, Ghana intends to serve as a pacesetters for welcoming our own back to their toots and to provide avenues for assimilating them into the Ghanaian society in particular and African societies in general”.
He assured, the Ministry on it part, is working to remove all challenges that may rear it head as part of the celebration revealing the Ministry has set up a committee, which includes it directors, together with some senior representatives from MDAs and NGOs, to address possible challenges that participants may encounter in traveling from host countries to Ghana, to participate in the various events.
Government is also in the process of working to have visa agreements with some countries such as those in the Caribbean where the Diaspora total number is quite significant.
The Director-Diaspora Affairs, Akwasi Awua Ababio, who outlined the various programme, said Ghanaian citizenship was one thing many are craving for because of the good imagine of the country. He said this development was something that should make every Ghanaian proud.
The Ghana Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, are coordinating the year-long calendar of activities in “celebration of the resilience of the African spirit”.
This is being done in partnership with the Office of Diaspora Affairs in the Office of the President, the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) Foundation and The Adinkra Group.