Well, with the near economic collapse of the world, many Ghanaians are limping home zapped by recession in their adopted countries, only to find poverty on the rise in their home countries . In this climate, they seek opportunity. And here’ssome good news. Some are getting help from two likely sources to establish themselves and stem the tide of growing poverty.And guess what country has adopted a unique plan….OBAMALAND, you guessed it!
Remittances, the third largest foreign exchange earner in this country, have fallen off, so the idea is to get the Diaspora back to start businesses to create jobs and wealth. Great idea. Maybe this is the case of every cloud has a silver lining. Not only will the Diaspora bring back their talents (all that brain power) and their money, but more that experience gained living and working societies where the rule of law and regulation holds-for the most part. Hopefully, they’ll bring back a spark of social activism to become catalysts for social change,much needed here. I think of that Kumasi hotel owner whose act of empowerment is related in an earlier post entitled AT THE GHANA HOTELS ASSOCIATION MEETING : A CONFLICT OF INTEREST posted on June 8, 2009.
Anyways USAID AND WESTERN UNION have initiated a US$1.5 fund to encourage migrant travellers to return to their native lands to start businesses. It’s like an incentive to those that are on the verge of returning, but need a little push. Diasporans who are US citizens or permanent residents from countries where USAID operates, and Ghana is one of them, can apply for funding between US$50,000 and US$100,000 that they have to match to start up businesses that have viable business plans and backing.
Again, it’s a great idea-we hear plenty about pushes from home countries and pulls from countries away, but little about pulls from the home country-except empty rhetoric- and pushes from the adopted lands…until now.
To date, the Daily Graphic of July 6th, reports that by mid June, 14 applications had been submitted to the diaspora programme, and more had begun the application process. They include proposals for agribusiness, food production, fisheries, engineering, transportation and communications technology in nine countries.
NOTHING IN TOURISM! AND I WONDER IF USAID IN GHANA WOULD APPROVE A TOURISM RELATED PROPOSAL. IT WOULD HAVE TO BE AN IMAGINATIVE ONE, FOR SURE. NOT JUST ANOTHER HOTEL! MENTION HAS BEEN MADE PREVIOUSLY THAT A FEW YEARS AGO USAID PULLED OUT OF TOURISM PROMOTION/DEVELOPMENT LEAVING IT TO THE JAPANESE.