GENEVA, Switzerland, May 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has welcomed the launch of a newly created Diaspora Affairs Bureau within Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
This is a landmark achievement on the part of the Government of Ghana, which has formalized the engagement of the Ghanaian diaspora for effective migration management and national development planning.
There are an estimated three million Ghanaians living in the diaspora. The majority live in neighbouring African countries and the largest concentration of Ghanaian migrants outside the region are found in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Bureau builds upon the success of the Ministry’s Diaspora Support Unit (DSU), established in 2012 with the support of IOM’s International Development Fund (IDF). The IDF supports IOM Member States in their efforts to strengthen their migration management capacity.
The DSU was established as part of a national diaspora engagement project to provide a sustainable link between the Ghanaian diaspora and various government agencies to achieve development and investment goals.
The new Diaspora Affairs Bureau, which enjoys the direct support of Ghana’s President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, is responsible for national diaspora engagement and migration matters within the Ministry.
Proposed objectives include the creation of a diaspora database, engagement of diaspora for national development, awareness campaigns, research, and coordination with migration and development stakeholders. Key tasks will be completed by two support units, the Diaspora Support Unit and the Migration and Development Unit, within the Bureau.
The Ghanaian diaspora, particularly associations and professionals, has welcomed the initiative, which is seen as a valuable source of information, particularly relating to business registration and information about investment opportunities.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) will work with the Bureau to provide incentives (primarily tax exemptions) to increase the diaspora’s access to agriculture and energy investment opportunities.
“The creation of the Diaspora Affairs Bureau signals the strong commitment of the Government of Ghana to support effective migration management through diaspora dialogue. It also validates the importance of IOM/IDF projects in providing a platform for governments to achieve practical solutions to migration challenges,” says Dyane Epstein, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.
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