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SANKOFA: Ambassador Kyeremanten Graces Ghanafest 2002 In Chicago (First proponent of diaspora skills bank)
Posted by admin on 8th February 2014

Source: RCH/ghanaweb.com

……His Excellency , Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen said that the NPP Government has launched a website for the diaspora Skills Bank . Ghanaians abroad are to log on and register. People could also fax their information to the center. The bank presently has 150 registrants.

His Excellency Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen , Ghana’s ambassador to the United States attended the 14th annual Ghana festival, popularly known as Ghanafest in Chicago on July 27 2002 at the Washington Park, 5400 S Cottage Groove. Also in attendance was Mr. Chalk Bowen, representing the mayor of Chicago, Mr. Daley.
The cultural festival that showcases the rich Ghanaian folkdance, music, cuisine and cultural exhibitions was attended by more than ten thousand people from almost all the states in the United States. International visitors to the function included Ghanaians in Canada, Britain and from Ghana.

The festival started with the national anthems of Ghana and the United States followed by procession of chiefs and queens dressed in their royal regalia and were ushered in with fontomfrom drum by the Ewe Cultural troupe of Chicago.

In his opening remarks Mr. Clement Timpo reiterated the spirit of Ghanafest as a unifying force for us Ghanaian immigrants, as it brings a high level of camaraderie among us. He said the occasion gives us a sense of hope and great pride in our strength to make strides in this Diaspora.

Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen thanked the organizers for inviting him to the function and reserved his comments to an informal town hall meeting with Ghanaians on July 28 at the YWCA (Prempeh Hall) in Chicago.

This year’s festival which was dedicated to the children saw young girls and boys in fantastic display of boborbor dance to the amazement of all.

Bashiru Habib, Financial Secretary to the Ghana National Council and Dr. Amoakohene, Nana Akwesi Appiah- Ashantefuohene, Togbui Venya (Kwame Ampofo) were among recipients of awards by the Ghana National Council Executive for their outstanding dedication to the Ghanaian community in Chicago.

In a town-hall meeting following Ghanafest the following day, the Ambassador, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen was accompanied by Seth Addo, trade and investment attach? to the Ghana Mission and Mr. Agyeman Duah, Information attach? to the Ghana mission in the United States.

His Excellency, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen explained some of the initiatives of the NPP government in Ghana to address the economic, social and political problems in Ghana.

On the political front, the ambassador explained that the government has made intangible efforts to work with all Ghanaians irrespective of their political affiliations. He shed light on the so often travels of the president to other countries was to achieve a good working relationship and peace among the sub-region. He explained that the fast track court showed the maturity of the government by not resulting to other means to achieve reversal of the earlier decision but seek redress through the judicial system.

He commended the NDC government led by Jerry John Rawlings for leaving a reasonable level of infrastructure but left the economy with serious and crippling debt of six billion US dollars. Also the present NPP government inherited massive unemployment, inflation and interest rates ranging 45 to 50 percent. He mentioned that 50 % of Ghanaians earn less than a dollar a day. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen said the recurrent expenditure and servicing of the debt leaves the government with only 2% for development purposes.

Mr. Kyerematen informed the gathering of about 150 Ghanaians that the NPP government:-
1.Has acquired license to export garments to the United States.
2.Capitalize the economy of Ghana by acquiring a one billion dollar loan.
3.Initiated Ghanaian equity and investment fund to generate 50 million US dollars of which 10 million would be generated from Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
4.Proposed save your school program for Ghanaians in Diaspora to contribute cash to their former primary schools; the money would be used to buy specific items like tables and chairs or textbooks.
5.Build a Ghana Cultural center in the United States.
6.His Excellency , Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen said that the NPP Government has launched a website for the diaspora Skills Bank . Ghanaians abroad are to log on and register. People could also fax their information to the center. The bank presently has 150 registrants.

In his introduction remarks, Dr. Ohemeng appealed to politicians back home to eschew bitterness ,fighting and rather work together for the mutual development of Ghana.
Mr. Clement Timpo, President of the Ghana National Council, said “whatever way one may look at it, as Ghanaians in this Diaspora, our faith, progress and basic economic and socio economic survivals are intricately linked to the progress and stability in Ghana. We therefore share in the dilemma, and the economic and socio economic frustrations and survival of Ghana.

Even though we have been away for far too long, we are still an integral part of Ghana; we have love ones and relatives at home; we send money to our love ones and relatives regularly; we help in the local community developments; at our council and affiliate organization meetings, we are always thinking, and concerned with, and deliberating on the developmental progress of local councils and local communities in Ghana.

We are continuously organizing fundraisers for the hospitals, clinics and other local economic infrastructures in Ghana. So Your Excellency, even though we are now part of North America, we! are also an integral part of Ghana.”

Clement proposed to the ambassador that the envisaged Ghana Community Cultural center should be built in Chicago! The ambassador was very enthused with the idea.