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01.09.2019 Feature Article

From Voice of reason: Ghana's 'Year -Of -Return: 'Is It Just A Hoax?

From Voice of reason: Ghana's 'Year -Of -Return: 'Is  It  Just A  Hoax?

THE WHISPER WILL BEGIN within minutes when the so-called the- year- of- return's festivities end.

While I'm not going to try to pretend to be an armchair social scientist or an economist , I think there might be a way for our leaders to address the problem of lack of investment in this country vis-a-vis the brain -drain factor and 'enticement ' of Ghanaians in the diaspora.

For those of you who are not aware of what is my "beef", it's simple this: Ghana is basically telling the Ghanaians in the diaspora ,"fuck you!, we don't need you. Just send your remittances to finance our luxurious funeral celebrations ".

Not only the home front issues cause Ghanaians abroad to languish in foreign countries for inordinately long periods of time, but what we're witnessing is the denying of the responsibility at its worst on the part of our leaders and policies makers .

So instead of vigorously wooing the descendants of Africa to Ghana, they also should be putting short -term gratification over long -term solution to the brain-drain syndrome, that has cost Ghana so much pain and suffering.

I have long been a proponent of policies and initiatives that can not only bring investments into the country but a government that can stop the brain- drain syndrome. My logic is simple: Virtually , every successful and developed country takes care of its human resource(Intellectual capital).

Undoubtedly, an intellectual capital drives prosperity in every country through private sector investments. However, too many of the nation's sons and daughters (with skills and capital)are languishing in foreign lands all because the 'environment' at home doesn't give them the critical support they need to survive and thrive on their motherland.

It is somehow strange that Ghana has for some time now seen the need to attract its sons and daughters abroad to come home and assist in the development process.

Unfortunately, the concept reminds as a mere mouth work as nothing concrete has been done. In fact, the least said about any attempt made by the government upon government to court its citizens abroad the better. Do you remember the 2017 diaspora "whining summit"?--it was very disastrous! Where is the follow-up, if any?

Now let me see if I can dissect it delicately. There is nothing wrong with trying to reunite two groups of people separated generations ago. Absolutely, reconnecting groups of people with their families, culture and 400yr- history is good for the soul and body. But what worries me the MOST is the call to bring the Black Americans and other African descendants ('home' ) to settle in Ghana; without providing the necessary ecology that attracts migration. Even some community leaders have offered to give lands away free of charge to entice them to come home. It didn't end there. I have also heard that the granting of citizenship status to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, (all in the name of making them 'feel at home') is in the works. Halba!

Oh, this is well and good because the people of Ghana can use their investments and technical know-how. But, something doesn't look right. Why do we have to reinvent the wheels? If the native Ghanaian professionals want to leave at any given opportunity and don't intend to come back, what makes you think that the black Americans will take a chance on our accidents -prone, pot-holes, armed- robbery infested roads, unhygienic public hospitals, and rotten- corrupt political system?

The effects of corruption have killed more people than any epidemic or disease in the history of this country. Corruption has also birthed many, many social ,medical and economic problems in this country and it's still with us. In fact, Ghana's fight against corruption is insufficient and may not yield any desired result." We're just doing a lot of lip service; talking and pretense in our quest to fight corruption so people are not afraid".

Instead of asking the African Americans to return to Ghana, our leaders should focus on what they can do to improve the life situation at home; in order to keep those who have skills and entice those who are outside to come home. This only can happen when the home- front issues are solved. Not when contracts are sold to the highest bidders. Not when even the local elections are won by the highest bidders. Not when public hospitals' patients are required to bring their own bed sheets, drinking water and hot water flasks .

I have some questions to ask ,but before that I want to know this: Does anyone care to know how many Ghanaian intellectuals and professionals who have become socio-economic exiles in New York City alone because of the home -front mismanagement and lack of accountability?.

Now here are my questions:

1.Does Ghana really want to develop its intellectual capital?

2.Does Ghana really and truly need its sons and daughters to come home?

3.Given the choice between the African -Americans and Ghanaian professionals who have become globetrotters , which group is well suited to be given a red carpet to move to Ghana permanently ?

4.What makes our leaders to think that the African -Americans(who are very, very privileged) can withstand the craziness Ghanaians go through every day in our hospitals, DVLA ,harbors, court system ,on our accident prone roads and other inconveniences? . Yes ,United States of America has its hiccups , headaches and heartaches, but at least the laws work perfectly there.

5.Does the government of Ghana have the record of how many Ghanaians living outside , the skills they possess and their long -term goals?

6.Does any one think that the atrocious 'land guards' outfit, financial institutions' tsunami ,menzgold saga and corruptions are things that can entice people to move to Ghana that quick with just sound bites?

7. Instead of calling for African -Americans to move to Ghana why don't we nurture and embrace our youth by periodically inviting them for a NATIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT (NAYS)to map out plans for the next 25years and beyond before they start thinking of their own exodus ?

Maybe (just maybe) finding answers to above mentioned questions won't be able to fulfill all their intended purposes and bring every self-imposed exile home. However, they can definitely allow a few of them the luxury to age and ultimately die comfortably on their mother land in peace.

My point: We need to design a very comprehensive agenda that comprises of a robust Security system, sanitation, respect for the law, reliable road network, medical delivery system without its hostile nurses and a lot of other things that attract even the native Ghanaians to stay home. It's only then that we can 'invite' our brothers and sisters on the other side of the Atlantic ocean to join us to celebrate our 'achievements'. Right now, there is nothing to celebrate so don't believe the hype!.

Is that too much a dream to uphold? Maybe, our leaders and policy makers should go into other professions where individuals' Rights, freedom, welfare , security and the longevity of the citizenry are not on the line. Something where professional 'courage' and 'creativity' are not required. Maybe, pottery making--or basket weaving will suit them .

Please let's first focus on stopping our brightest and 'well-equipped' youth from leaving the shores of Ghana. And, find creative ways to woo the ones outside to come home by creating the social, political and economic ecosystem that offers the needed nutrients to nurture and adore the qualitative intellectual resources of Ghanaians(both home and abroad). Enough is enough! Please correct me if I'm right.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi(voice of reason)

Somerset ,Nj USA

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi, © 2019

This author has authored 198 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuAduGyamfi

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