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15.07.2005 Travel & Tourism

New Moves To Boost Tourism

Mawuvi Azankpo

As Minister Hints Of Project Code-named “The Joseph Project”

Bent on making Tourism a major foreign exchange earner for the country, the Tourism Ministry will soon outdoor a unique project Code-named “The Joseph Project” for the realization of that goal.

The Sector Minister, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey in an interaction with the media last Thursday at the Conference Room of the Independence Square, hinted of the “Joseph Project” designed to “increase tourism visitations to Ghana to top the one million mark by 2007”.

According to him, “The 'Joseph Project' builds upon the Pan-African Foundations laid by Ghana's First Prime Minister and President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and his outreach to Africans in the Diaspora and programmes by subsequent governments of Ghana, including the annual celebration of 'Emancipation Day' launched in 1994”.

He said the objective of the “'Joseph Project' is to make the 21st century the African century”.

Strategically, he said, the project is to being together the African peoples – both on the continent and the diaspora – “so that their positive spirit and strengths are released in a focused manner to elevate Africa and Africans worldwide”.

He said the time had come for Africans to put an end to the negative perceptions that had been held about them and for them to shirk off the negative feelings they had been made to bear about themselves “after more than 400 years of slave trading, colonial exploitation, cultural and economic and post colonial political manipulation” – the result of which had laid Africa as “a waste land of woes and war”.

“The time has come for us to stand and state, 'I am a proud African, proud of my land, proud of my people, committed to making the third millennium the African millennium”, he underscored.

According to him, “The Joseph Project” stands “for a series of activities, actions and interactions being spearheaded by Ghana to re-establish the African Nation as a nation of all its peoples, capable of delivering on the promise of God to Africa and the African peoples”.

He said the year 2007 which is the 50th Anniversary of independence, had been earmarked by the Ghana Government to celebrate African excellence. And, to inaugurate “The Joseph Project”, the year would be used to bring together Africans in the Diaspora to Ghana as a way of establishing it as the “true gateway to the Homeland for Africans in the Diaspora”.

Explaining why the year 2007 was chosen for the launch of “The Joseph Project”, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said the year also marked the “200th Anniversary of The Act of March 2nd 1807, passed in US, which forbade trading in slaves with Africa”.

He said activities marking the project would include Healing – which would be done through an Act of Expiation and Forgiveness; A Pilgrimage of Africans in the Diaspora to Ghana; Visit to the Slave Forts and Markets; Education and what happened within the 400 years of slavery; Explanation of our Culture and Tradition and the award of the African Excellence Experience on people of African origin who had excelled in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles – for which the stories of legends like Mary MacLeod Bethune, Frederick Douglas, Hariet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Toussaint L'Ouverture, Duke Ellington, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Carver et al, would be relived.

“Here in the 'African Excellence Experience' we will find the inspiration to overcome all of life's challenges”, said the Minister.

He said the Ghana Government would introduce the “Diasporan Visa”, 'building land in the homeland', “Know Your Roots” and “The 'gene map” to establish the genetic link between “our returnees/pilgrims and the homeland”.