The Ministries of Business Development and Local Government and Rural Development intend to spearhead a project that seeks to attract Ghanaians in the diaspora to invest in various sectors of the economy.
Importantly, the initiative will deliberately seek to attract such investments into the country’s hinterlands in an effort to achieve spatial diversification in an economy where more 90 percent of direct investment inflows from abroad are directed at a handful of the most urban centres.
Apart from the two ministries, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) are therefore expected to be the main drivers of the project at the various district levels, by creating attractive business operating environments, facilitating the expected investments and crucially, identifying possible locally based investment partners. The initiative is expected to begin this year.
The initiative dubbed: Sankofa Back Home Project is a concept propounded by Praxis Africa Strategic Group, an economic development partner, which seeks to woo successful Ghanaians in the diaspora to return home to invest in key sectors of the economy, thereby creating job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.
The project, launched last November in Accra, is in the process of identifying financially empowered and professionally skilled Ghanaians in continental Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world which host such Ghanaians and who are being targeted to begin the project’s initial stage.
Praxis is identifying and recruiting investors, information technology experts, entrepreneurs, and people with technological skills in manufacturing as well as an array of professionals in various fields.
When the concept is fully streamlined, the initiative is expected to create employment and vocational opportunities and take advantage of the vast opportunities in the tourism sector.
For a start though, the project is expected to focus mainly on Ghanaians living in New York and New Jersey as it is believed that largest segment of the Ghanaian population in the U.S. live in these two cities, according to Praxis Africa Strategic Group.
As a strategic measure to deepen development initiatives at the district level, the Sankofa project will focus on exploring and leveraging on various investment opportunities.
Last year, a Ghana Diaspora Business Development Conference and Gala was held in Accra, under the auspices of the Ministry of Business Development. The event was a business development forum for discussing investment opportunities in Ghana.
Diaspora investors have been among the first movers in helping their respective home countries all around the world along the road to economic recovery following widespread pandemics and natural disasters as well as economic recessions.
For instance, the Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Survey, launched by the World Bank recently to have an understanding of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora towards getting them to invest in their country revealed that members showed interest investing in education and health sectors of the economy, most especially at the district levels.
About 83 percent of them plan to one day return home, live, invest in key sectors of the economy and volunteer on short-term missions. Such initiatives lead to deeper diaspora engagements, restoring investor confidence and the building of strong public-private partnerships.
By Dundas Whigham