Chris Koney’s column: Impact of COVID-19 on Ghanaian diaspora in the UK 


The coronavirus continues to redefine everyday life across the world, including continental Africa. It is affecting the flow of money into many countries, the effect of the travel bans and this shows the relationship between the African diaspora and their homelands.

COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures such as social distancing, lockdowns, and suspension of local and international travel are the new normal. This has implications for a variety of relationships and interactions, including those between the African diaspora and their homelands.

It is no secret that members of the African diaspora are essential to the development stories of their homelands, and they are a core social support network. Available figures from the Bank of Ghana indicate that migrant remittances to Ghana increased from US$1.5 billion in 2005 to US$2.1 billion in 2010 and then almost US$5 billion in 2015.

In the global north, coronavirus has impacted the earning power and disposable incomes of the African diaspora and to an extent; it provides a window for reflecting on the African diaspora and its financial relationship with its homelands.

I recently had a conversation with Dennis Tawiah, the Chief Executive Officer of the Akwaaba Group to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the Ghanaian community in the United Kingdom. Popularly referred to as Radical Dee, Mr. Tawiah is responsible for some of the biggest events across Europe which showcase the rich Ghanaian culture, from beauty pageants, musical concerts to international football matches.

According to Radical Dee, prior to the coronavirus, doing Ghanaian or African events in the United Kingdom could be very challenging sometimes due to the laid down rules and regulations governing events execution. It is an entirely different regime when it comes to how events are organized in the UK and how the community comes together.

“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it wasn’t a walk in the park when you attempt to put together an African event. With the situation currently in London, the Ghanaian community across the United Kingdom has been highly impacted in several ways, from financially to getting together as a people,” he added.

He however added that his outfit, Akwaaba Group has partnered with global money transfer company, WorldRemit to use existing and create new platforms to enable members of the Ghanaian community to engage and discuss ways of sustaining themselves in the midst of the global pandemic. WorldRemit is a secured service that allows clients to transfer money online using a variety of channels including computer, smartphone and an application. The service helps make international money transfer to over 150 countries fast, simple and secured.

In the midst of the pandemic, Akwaaba Group brought to Ghanaians an online version of the famous Ghana Party in the Park this year. Ghana Party in the Park is an annual outdoor festival held in London for the Ghanaian Community in the diaspora and hosted by the Akwaaba Group since 2005.

“This year has been particularly challenging for not only Ghanaians abroad but home as well, knowing how the diaspora supports families back home. Apart from bringing excitement to several people and homes with the virtual edition of the annual Party in the Park, we rolled out other programmes to encourage engagement between people in the diaspora and back home in,” Radical Dee highlighted.

The Akwaaba Talk Show and Akwaaba Game Show were introduced in partnership with WorldRemit. The two shows are to create an opportunity for members of the general public to engage on topical issues during the pandemic and chat with their favorite celebrities on a wide range of subjects.

A tall list of first rate Ghanaian celebrities including musicians Ofori Amponsah, Sarkodie, Kidi and King Promise were hosted on both shows at different times. The shows were hosted by Gracey Mae and Mz Dru.

During these difficult times, WorldRemit Money Transfer, the leading remittance online services have been supporting the UK and European Ghanaian community through various sponsorship activities. WorldRemit Money Transfer is proven to be a very popular choice for Ghanaians in the diaspora and we advise our customers to keep on using their App to send money back home to Ghana

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