Tamale, July 30, GNA - Mr Felix Longi, Lecturer University for Development Studies (UDS), has urged Ghanaians to use the "Emancipation Day" celebrations to attract investment by Africans in the Diaspora to ensure the country's economic independence.
He said such celebrations promoted tourism and created business opportunities for local industries.
Mr Longi called on the Government and entrepreneurs to maximum utilisation of the country's natural resources to achieve economic emancipation.
He was delivering a lecture on "The slave trade and the significance of Emancipation Day to the socio-economic development of Ghana," as part of the activities marking this year's Emancipation Day in Tamale on Thursday.
Mr Longi regretted that African countries had been "addicted" to foreign handouts to sustain a perceived balance in their economies and said, "This situation must be reversed if we are to make any significant progress in our march towards economic emancipation."
He said the importance of Emancipation Day could be practically felt if people avoided creating a "master-servant" relationship in their homes and workplaces and saw themselves as equals in the fight against poverty, disease and deprivation.
Mr Longi stressed the need for Europe and America to pay reparation to Africa for the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, during which "our kith and kin were sent and exploited to build the economies of those countries". "The issue of reparation to Africa should not be whether or not it should be paid but rather how soon this will be paid as it is long overdue," he said.
Earlier in the day, a group of African-Americans visited Saakpuli, a former slave site in the Savelugu/Nanton District of the Northern Region, which served as bathing place for slaves and a slave market. Mr Ferdinand Ayim, Special Assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, who led the team, said the focus of this year's celebration was to visit areas in the Northern part of the country, where the slaves were sold and sent to the castles and transported to the Americas.
He said: "The celebration of Emancipation Day signifies the return of our lost brothers and sisters to trace their roots."
Mr Ayim appealed to the Savelugu/Nanton District Assembly and the Ministry of Roads and Transport to collaborate to rehabilitate the road leading to Saakpuli to promote tourism.
He said the industry was the fastest growing industry in the country and appealed to Africans in the Diaspora to invest in the sector to accelerate development.
At Saakpuli, Mr Ayim was enskinned "Silimbona Naa", which translates, "It is only a son who will trace you where you are," while Mrs Sarah Bucknor an African/American and Mr Caleb Michaud, a Peace Corps volunteer, were also enskinned as market queen, "Magazia", and "Nachin Naa", youth leader, respectively.