The Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, has urged Ghanaians in the diaspora to participate in the country’s development efforts.
According to her, government is doing its best to develop the country but cannot do it alone, and the role of the diaspora alongside citizens at home is crucial.
“We need the participation of all our citizens, whether home or abroad. It could be your ideas, your money and your skills; but most importantly you need to maintain the connection with our mother country to bring to bear your knowledge and experiences, as well as leverage the opportunities available for national development.
“I urge Ghanaians and those in the diaspora to participate in the development efforts of Ghana and the government. Government cannot do it alone,” she said, adding that now is the time to further work together toward an inclusive and sustainable growth strategy.
She made this call at the Ghana Action Forum event organised by Ahaspora in Accra, to engage Ghanaians living abroad and at home in an action-oriented, forward-thinking conference to contribute toward advancing Ghana’s development.
She lauded the commitment of the diasporans present at the event, and their quest to work together and help grow the country.
She further stated that to further demonstrate the commitment of the Ghanaian diaspora, the World Bank Mitigation and Development report revealed that in 2020 remittances to sub-Saharan Africa were estimated to have declined by 12.5 percent – and this was because of COVID-19. However, the Ghanaian diaspora increased its remittances by 5 percent despite the impact.
AfCFTA and investment
The Second Lady also beseeched Ghanaians in the diaspora to take advantage of the enormous opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and bring investments home.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement also brings us a lot of opportunities, so this is an area that we all have to look at. This will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of member-countries that are participating in it – so the opportunities are immense.
“AfCFTA will play a vital role in aiding countries establish trade partnerships, thereby facilitating the establishment of businesses across borders on the continent,” she said.
Mrs. Bawumia, who doubles as a Global Ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance, said another area worth investing in is the green economy.
“I know that within the green economy space there are many opportunities a lot of you can take advantage of; so please, while thinking of areas to invest, look at the green economy,” she noted.
For her part, the founder of Ahaspora Professional Network, Christabel E. Dadzie, reiterated the need to bridge the gap between the diaspora and home; adding that there are a lot of Ghanaian talents living abroad whose role is crucial to economic development.
“The reality is that when you are in the US, a lot of the best doctors are Ghanaians; and if they are doing amazingly out there, why should we just leave them out there? They should come home and join us to build this lovely country.
“I say this to everybody: not everyone has to come home, but make sure you are contributing toward home,” she said.
The ultimate goal of the conference is to support participants by fostering professional engagement while highlighting the immense potential that exists for propelling development in Ghana if diaspora engagement is leveraged.