The Year of Return 2019, an initiative by the Ghanaian government intended to encourage African diasporans to come to Africa (specifically Ghana) to settle and invest in the continent has pumped $1.9 billion into Ghana's economy. Activities that have contributed to this boost include air travel, hotel accommodation, transport fares, and key entertainment events.
“There has been tremendous community involvement which has stimulated the local economy including hoteliers, tour operating and other related businesses,” Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Ghana’s Tourism Minister, said during the inauguration of a tourist centre at Anomabo, a town in the Central Region of Ghana. The tourist centre will serve as an information centre and provide a welcoming environment for tourists.
The Year of Return was formally launched by President Nana Akufo-Addo in September 2018 in Washington DC. It is symbolic in 2019 as it commemorates 400 years since the first enslaved Africans got to the United States.
Celebrities such as Steve Harvey, Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons, Micheal Jai White, Bozoma Saint John, Idris Elba, Boris Kodjoe, Naomi Campbell, Anthony Anderson, Kofi Kingston, Adrienne-Joi Johnson, Cardi B, T.I. and Christopher Brian Bridges(Ludacris) have all visited Ghana in the Year of Return.
Oteng-Gyasi said the initiative had “cemented Ghana’s pan-African legacy and had put a global spotlight on the country and helped to position it as a historic, cultural and vibrant hub and had as well changed the narrative of what was reported about Ghana and the rest of Africa in general.”
As part of the celebrations, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently granted citizenship to 126 diasporans who have been residing in Ghana for several years.