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General News of Thursday, 18 April 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Pay attention and gain more from Ghanaians abroad – CEO of DNT to government

CEO of DNT, Jermaine Nkrumah CEO of DNT, Jermaine Nkrumah

The Chief Executive Officer of Diaspora Network Television, Jermaine Nkrumah reckons the three billion dollars of remittances transferred into the country in 2018 will see a significant increase if government pays more attention to the needs of Ghanaians abroad.

According to Mr Nkrumah, Ghanaians in the diaspora are more than willing to contribute in diverse ways to the development of the country but they have been held back due to the apparent lack of commitment by the state. He implored the government to take keen interest in the activities of Ghanaians abroad since that will enable the state tap into their rich experience and resources.

Recounting his role in the passing of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA), Mr Nkrumah maintained that successive governments have failed to recognize the contributions made by Ghanaians living in other countries.

” Lots of Ghanaians desire to return home to establish businesses and to contribute to the development of Ghana but wish to see some measures in place. The country stands to gain if governments will listen and address their concerns where possible” he said".

"Back in 2002, I saw a line in our constitution that did not exclude Ghanaians abroad from voting in elections back home. I began giving speeches and presentations about that possibility only for some friends to laugh at me saying what a pipe dream that it was for Ghanaians at home to allow us abroad to vote. Fortunately in 2004, I made a presentation in New York City at an event where the then Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo was present. He called me over to his table to show him the Senegalese absentee ballot that I referred to during my presentation”.

“Consequently he and I began communicating from that point on. He showed a very keen interest in the concept of Ghanaians abroad voting in Ghana’s elections. Not long afterwards, Representation of the People Amendment Bill (ROPAB) surfaced in Parliament. That’s’ when it became fancy to advocate for the diaspora vote. So I am extremely proud that I began the agitation that eventually led to the birth of ROPAA. The experience showed me that no matter how obscure one’s actions, they have the potential of resulting in major developments”.

Answering a question on why he established the Diaspora Network Television, Mr Nkrumah stated that he set up the station to serve as mouthpiece for Ghanaians living in foreign countries.

He held that the new TV station through its compelling and educative program will erase some negative views some diasporas hold about the country and make the country appealing to them.

“I have lived within the diaspora for three decades. I have seen first-hand how Africans yearn to return home to help rebuild their respective countries. Unfortunately, many local attitudes about nationals in the diaspora are influenced and driven more by emotions than by pragmatism. From the opposite side, members of the diaspora can be a bit condescending when they return home. I envision a DNT that serves as the catalyst for a more constructive engagement to foster understanding between nations and their diaspora”

On how the station intends to achieve its objectives and standout from other stations, Mr Nkrumah said “We are different from a vision, mission, and objectives standpoint.

Moreover, we have no intention of doing things the same way as our competition. To stand out, one must have uniqueness. And we will always strive to achieve that uniqueness”.

Last year, Ghana recorded more than $3 Billion in remittances by Ghanaians living abroad.

The figure, according to the Director of Diaspora Affairs Office at the Presidency, Akwasi Awua Ababio was more than the revenue the country generated from on other exported resources like gold, cocoa among others.

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