Ghana Invites African Americans to ‘Come Home’ in Wake of U.S. Protests

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo speaks to the press after a meeting with his Ivory Coast counterpart at the presidential palace in Abidjan on May 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP
ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP

Ghana, considered a gateway of the brutal slave trade to the United States that began more than 400 years ago, is urging “unwanted” Americans of African heritage to resettle within its borders in the wake of the police killing of Minnesota resident George Floyd.

During a memorial and wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Floyd last Friday, Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Barbara Oteng-Gyasi invited African Americans to “re-settle in Ghana if they feel unwanted” in the United States, the Independent Ghana news outlet reported.

Oteng-Gyasi reportedly declared:

Racism in America continues to be a deadly pandemic, for which for more than 400 years now, our brothers and sisters in the United States of America have yearned for a cure.

We continue to open our arms and invite all our brothers and sisters home. Ghana is your home. Africa is your home. We have our arms wide open ready to welcome you home. Please take advantage, come home build a life in Ghana, you do not have to stay where you are not wanted forever, you have a choice and Africa is waiting for you.

On Monday, NBC News reported that the African country had expanded its “Year of Return” initiative, an effort launched last year. As part of the initiative, Ghana called on the African diaspora across the world to “come home.”

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo officially launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” in Washington, DC, in September 2018, the United Nations noted.

“We know of the extraordinary achievements and contributions they [Africans in the diaspora] made to the lives of the Americans, and it is important that this symbolic year — 400 years later — we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices,” the Ghanaian president declared.

The Ghanaian government launched the 2019 effort to mark 400 years since the first documented slave ship left Africa to the U.S. state of Virginia.

NBC News noted on Monday:

Now, the [Ghana] government is expanding the idea with a new initiative, “Beyond the Return,” which invites black people to invest financially and socially in Ghana. According to officials, the country is making a pathway to citizenship easier for foreigners and reforming the visa process to make the country more accessible to travelers. It hopes to increase tourists’ visits from 1 million to 8 million by 2027.

Ghana’s 2019 initiative successfully attracted some black Americans, including some who resettled permanently and were granted citizenship in the country.

“When we start with the fun, they see that traveling to Africa is not that bad,” Jewel Thompson, an Atlanta native living in Ghana, told NBC News. “It’s not all safaris and beaches. There’s more than just what you think you understand about the continent, and especially about Ghana.”

Some African Americans have said they moved to Ghana to escape racism.

As part of the “Year of Return” effort, Ghana hosted historic tours, parties, celebrations, and the Afrochella music festival that featured American hip-hop artist Cardi B. among other artists.

Ghana has been urging the African diaspora to at least travel to the African country for years.

Thousands of African Americans live in the Ghanaian capital of Accra alone, Al Jazeera reported.

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