President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has thanked Hollywood actor Boris Kodjoe and international marketing icon Bozoma Saint John for their immense contribution to the success of the ‘Year of Return’ celebration last year.
The President, while addressing Parliament on the State of the Nation on Thursday, acknowledged the two personalities for using their star power to attract thousands to the country.
“I should thank two people, in particular, who have embraced their Ghanaian heritage and have played a key role in our effort to building lasting bridges between Ghana and African-Americans: Hollywood star, Boris Kodjoe and international marketing icon, Bozoma Saint John,” he said.
“We are grateful to both of them for leveraging their star-power to attract thousands to the land of their fathers, and to drive a fresh narrative that says Ghana is a land of opportunity; visit, invest, make it your home,” President Akufo-Addo added.
Ghana last year marked 400 years since the first slaves arrived in Virginia in the US. The celebrations saw thousands of Diasporans – including renowned celebrities like Steve Harvey, T.I, Ludacris and others – visiting the country.
Touching on the Year of Return, the President noted that, “It is a matter of great pride to me that all Ghanaians embraced the Year of Return, and helped to project such a positive and endearing image of our country. My heartfelt thanks to all Ghanaians and to Members of the House, in particular, for the enthusiastic welcome that was extended to our visitors, and for making the Year of Return such a resounding success.”
He observed that Ghana became the centre of attention in the African Diaspora and, indeed, “much of the world as we led the way with events of remembrance to commemorate 400 years since the first captured Africans arrived in the Americas in what became the beginning of the ignominious Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.”
After a successful Year of Return, the government launched the ‘Beyond the Return’ to maximise the dividends from the country’s relationship with the Diaspora.
“We are building on the foundations of the Year of Return to a new level, the next stage of our re-engagement with the African Diaspora, with the theme, “Beyond the Return”. The government is seeking to build on the success, and we are putting measures in place to take us ‘Beyond the Return’,” the President said.