The Year of Return, Ghana 2019 is an initiative of the government of Ghana that is intended to encourage African diasporans to come to Africa (specifically Ghana) to settle and invest in the continent.
The program also recognises the diaspora’s achievements and sacrifices in the time since that event and to promote investment in Ghana and foster relationships with African Americans and the African diaspora.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, a total of $1.9 billion has been generated into the economy through activities related to the “Year of Return”.
It has also brought about an increase of over 200,000 in total arrivals into the country.
But conflict over the idea has started to surface as political opponents have started claiming ownership over the idea.
A staunch supporter of the largest opposition party, the NDC, Ohenenana Obonti Krow says the idea was stolen from the NDC.
Giving a chronological background of the Year of Return, Ohenenana Obonti Krow in a Facebook post reveals that the first Pan- African Historical Theater Festival was held in Cape Coast, Elmina and Accra in 1992.
“The YEAR OF RETURN idea is nothing new. Inspired by a paper written in 1980 entitled “PROPOSAL FOR A HISTORICAL DRAMA FESTIVAL IN CAPE COAST” by Dr Efua Sutherland, the PNDC administration conceptualized the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) Festival.
The first Pan- African Historical Theater Festival was held in Cape Coast, Elmina and Accra in 1992 under the theme; THE RE-EMERGENCE OF AFRICAN CIVILIZATION. The festival brought thousands of people of African descent to Ghana and was a great source of cultural enrichment for all Africans across the globe. ANOTHER NDC CONCEPT STOLEN.”