Tag: Princess Naa Ocansey


Ghana Diaspora HomeComing Summit 2017 – Day 2 Round Up

Here’s a round of what took place on day two of the Ghana Diaspora Homecoming Summit:

  • The theme was the Human Resource Marketplace and addressed wide ranging issues from converting the ‘brain drain’ to ‘brain gain’, how tertiary institutions and industry can collaborate to reduce the skills gap, how institutions such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have been mobilising diaspora groups in Ghana for over 30 years and addressing how we can develop a more productive and efficient work ethic.
  • After Mr. Alex Dadey, Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee, made a brief address to the audience and recapped an overview of Day 1’s activities Hon. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry gave a strong call to action calling on diasporans to not just point out challenges but to also be part of the solution in an active and impactful way. Drawing on his own experiences in the Diaspora he called on the diaspora to be realistic, manage expectations and to use the same level of resilience used to survive in their new host countries in Ghana. He also shared several points which he called Home Truths to encourage the diaspora to engage differently in order to bring cohesion and more collaborative partnerships with Ghanaian locals.
  • Hon. Ignatius Bafuor Awuah MP, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations followed, giving an overview of Ghanaian employment statistics (youth employment is estimated at 12-24%) and the experiences of Ghanaians abroad, particularly in the Gulf and called for Ghanaians to contribute to the national economy where protections and regulations seek to safeguard its workers.
  • Princess Naa Ocansey, MD of SOS Labour Ghana Limited began with a rousing call for diasporans to come home saying as “Uncle Sam needs Americans, Uncle Nana Addo needs you!” She encouraged and promoted the idea of circular legal migration which involves working in Ghana for short periods of time (e.g. 6 weeks, 6 months or even a year) and returning to host country. Deemed a “triple win” with host, home and the diasporan in question benefitting from circular migration, Princess Naa announced the development of a Diasporan National Service which SOS Labour Ghana Ltd, amongst others are developing. Key to its creation was the idea that second generation diasporans are often not involved or included and do not have the same networks or connections as their parents.
  • Sylvia Lopez-Ekra of IOM Ghana discussed the Connecting the Diaspora for Development (CD4D) programme which is aimed at harnessing skills transfer in many countries including Ghana through its diaspora, particularly in the agriculture and health sector. Ms. Lopez-Ekra also mentioned that Ghana remains a strong example of diaspora engagement and is regularly used as a reference point for the diaspora agenda. It was also emphasised that more needs to be done to integrate second-generation Ghanaians abroad who may not have citizenship but are doing wonderful things to celebrate the name of Ghana.
  • Ms. Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education called on us to not conform to the systems that do not work but to bring change to Ghana. Ms. Nkrumah focused on the need to move from an unproductive work ethic common in Ghana to one of discipline, accountability, integrity and excellence.
  • Mrs. Ellen Hagan, MD of L’AINE focused on bridging the skills gap of youth relative to universities and industry. She called on us to be innovative and to have an entrepreneurial mind to identify gaps and assess whether these gaps can be converted into an opportunity to grow and create employment and build skills.
  • Mr. George Asomaning introduced us all to DENI – Direct Expatriate Nationals Investment, a financial instrument which allows all Ghanaians regardless of location to invest. There is no minimum investment and similar to other stocks and financial products pays a dividend based on performance. He encouraged all of us to get involved as it launches. (Date not given)
  • Mr. Hayford Atta-Krufi, CEO of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) discussed the eligibility and security for all diasporans in terms of retirement schemes and pensions. He highlighted that it is very simple to transfer pensions from abroad to Ghana (a formal letter to the NPRA has to be written to begin to process) and is working with the Diaspora Relations Office to make this information more readily available.
  • Dr. Thomas Mensah, a pioneer in fibre optic technology joined us via live stream and presented on new plans for infrastructure projects including Kumasi Airport and a new railway system.
  • A new Diaspora Engagement Policy is being drafted and under consultation but will be launched soon. (Date not given)
  • After workshops on the Diaspora Investment Experience, Technical Capacity Building of Entrepreneurs, Practical Application of DENI and Entry into the Oil & Gas Sector. A presentation on the Marine Drive Investment project slated to change the landscape of Accra through tourism was given by the Office of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture. 
  • Wogbejeke, a theatre production by the Bambu Centre tracing the history of Ghana from pre-colonial times until now gave a performance.
Audience questions (asked throughout the day)
  • How does the government intend to involve and empower the voices of those who are are not rich and are not elite in the Diaspora?
  • How is the Diaspora National Service programme being created? Who is being consulted?
  • Does age impact if you can work in government?
  • Why do non-Ghanaian expatriates receive better salary, packages and are generally more valued than Ghanaians from abroad with similar or more qualifications?
  • How feasible will the economies of the factories in the ODOF policy be?
  • What kind of support is being given to technology companies who want to support the ODOF policy?
  • How is the Diaspora being defined?
  • What diplomatic repercussions have their been for governments in the Gulf where Ghanaians are maltreated?
  • How can tertiary institutions and industry bridge the skills gap?
  • What is being done to change the ‘poor’ Ghanaian work ethic that was spoken about?
  • Why are foreign institutions such as NASA tell us as Ghanaians what is and isn’t possible?
  • If we move towards big tourism projects are we destroying local value and moving people from their homes?
  • If you’re investing into tourism, how are you attracting people to actually come and visit Ghana?