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Business News of Friday, 3 July 2020


Coronavirus has badly affected our plans for Beyond the Return Initiative - Awua Ababio

The Director of the Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President (DAOOP), Akwasi Awua Ababio says the outbreak of the coronavirus has halted plans by the government to implement its ‘Beyond the Return Initiative’.

He said there were plans underway to undertake initiatives following the successful implementation of the ‘Year of Return’ initiative to implement the ‘Beyond the Return’.

Appearing on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he indicated the outbreak has not affected them but businesses especially the hospitality industry since the initiative was an opportunity for them to offer their services for patrons who will come to Ghana.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Friday, 27th December 2019, launched the “Beyond the Return, The Diaspora Dividend” Initiative, at a brief ceremony at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra.

The rationale of ‘Beyond the Return’ was to “engage Africans in the diaspora and all persons of African descent more positively in areas such as trade and investment co-operation, and skills and knowledge development”, the president said.

It will be recalled that 15 months ago, on 20th September 2018, at the Washington Press Club, in Washington D.C., the President proclaimed 2019 as the “Year of Return”.

Its purpose was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the time when the first 20 West African slaves were brought to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which subsequently became part of the United States of America, thereby initiating one of the most unfortunate and barbaric episodes of human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The ‘Beyond the Return’ was also launched “so we can derive maximum dividends from our relations with the diaspora in mutually beneficial co-operation, and as partners for shared growth and development”.

But Mr. Awua Ababioo says the outbreak has greatly affected this initiative.

He was, however, quick to add that plans were underway to find ways to implement the initiative despite the outbreak of the coronavirus.

A committee he revealed has been established to develop a roadmap that will help in implementing the ‘Beyond the Return’.

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