The Ministry of Finance (MoF) in efforts to sustain the progress attained from Year of Return and consolidate the gains made, is set to introduce an African Diaspora Investment and Saving Account to generate funds for tourism infrastructure development in the country
The African Diaspora Investment and Savings Account to be established, dubbed Africa Sankofa Account (ASA) is an investment instrument in the form of a bond that will enable the Caribbean, African-American and the average retailing Ghanaian to participate in a diaspora investment and savings account portfolio to generate funds.
The aim of the ASA initiative is to attract the diaspora beyond just coming home to Ghana and leaving as a tourist to investing in the development of the country and to also make the investment avenues available very accessible to the diaspora.
According to the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, the ministry began looking at the economic, investment and savings arena, of the Year of Return programme to see how it can facilitate and encourage diaspora investment in Ghana looking at the Africa-American purchasing power in the USA, which is about US$1.3 trillion and that is what influenced the initiative.
“The Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre will establish the Diaspora Savings and Investment Account (ASA), which looks to make sure that we welcome, facilitate and encourage investment from African-American with global expertise in different sectors of the economy.
“We envisage to create this instrument so that it will enable funds to flow much easier with certain benefits that will be attached to it, to allow us get the retail impact for everyone to be a part of it. It will have a bucket for those doing huge investment and also for those with small retail capital.
“We are not only going to get monetary investment but human capacity and talent that will emerge from this initiative. Therefore, it is important that we made it in a way that will make it easy for people to come,” he said.
The Finance minister further noted that in 2016 remittances that are essentially Ghanaians stood at US$1.4b, which increased progressively to US$2.4b in 2017, then to US$2.5 and in 2019 to somewhere around US$3.2b which shows that Ghana can use this instrument to generate more funds for infrastructure development, targeting about US$3b in the first year.
The CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, welcomed the ASA initiative announced by the Minister of Finance, encouraging the diaspora to take advantage to invest in sectors such as real estate, tourism and heritage sites as well as arts, fashion and music industries of the economy
“Beyond the year of return we have set out seven pillars of investment of which the diaspora can take advantage. One of which is the real estate sector and we are very excited that the ministry of finance is championing this initiative with the establishment of a a fund instrument that will make it easy for funds to flow. We will continue to engage with all the other agencies and sectors involve in the diaspora and the year of return to see how best we can enhance investment opportunities,” he said.
Also present at the short announcement ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance were the Minister for Tourism Creative Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Ababio and Diaspora Africa Forum Mission to Ghana, Erica Bennet, among others.
Dignitaries at the announcement ceremony