Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has said the Beyond the Return initiative was still on course despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said they were still in contact with partners abroad in undertaking the initiative, which was aimed at driving investments for the country and people of African descent. Mr Agyeman was speaking at an event to commemorate the 2021 World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture, organised by the GTA and Diasporan African Forum (DAF).
The Day, which was introduced in 2019 by the United Nations, is to celebrate the diversity of the African Culture and its people including those in the diaspora. He said the Day was to remember patriots and how “we can, through that, champion socioeconomic development of the Continent.”
He said the Day marked the celebration of the richness of the Afroculture and how it could be sustained and improved in contemporary times.
“We celebrate this day to show forth our resilience as a people even in such uncertain times as this corona season,” he added.
Madam Erieka Bennett, Head of Diasporan African Forum, said the Africans in the diaspora were committed to strengthening partnership with the Continent.
She said through the Year of Return and the Beyond the Return initiatives, Africans in the diaspora had had a fruitful collaboration with Ghana and the rest of Africa in programmes and developmental projects.
She said the Forum was linking up with other African-Americans abroad to join the initiative to drive socioeconomic development.
Mr Addourahamane Diallo, the UNESCO Country Manager, said the day coincided with the adoption of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance in 2006 by the Heads of State and government of the African Union.
He said the day was to promote possible ratification and implementation of the Charter by African states, thereby strengthening the role of culture in promoting peace and development.
He said 2021 was the year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage, which contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Sustainable Development Partnership (2018-2022).
He said the partnership was a five-year strategic framework that set out the collective vision and response of the UN system to the national development agenda.
Mr Diallo said recently, Ghana, with support from UNESCO, setup the Ghana Heritage Committee to help advise the government on heritage and its related matters within the framework of the UNESCO Conventions on Culture and other relevant conventions that would enhance the Beyond the Return Initiative.
There was also planting of trees at the event, a move signifying the collaboration between Africans and people of African descent through culture and sustainable development.