ACCRA - The high-profile ceremony was a reminder of one of the legacies of outgoing President Nana Akufo-Addo, who in 2019 invited the Black diaspora to come “home” in a “Year of Return.” It amplified the West African nation as a major end-of-year holiday destination. He also oversaw a ceremony that granted citizenship to more than a hundred African Americans and Afro Caribbeans.

Since 2017, 268 Americans have obtained Ghanaian citizenship, Ghana’s Director of Diaspora Affairs, Akwasi Awua-Ababio told Semafor Africa. “Most of them see it as a right to restoration of their citizenship and the fact that they are one of us. It is a response to the president’s call,” said Awua-Ababio.

Ghana has been a popular place for settlement, often because many believe their families exited Africa through the forts and castles around Ghana’s coast, Aqua-Ababio explained. Others have also been drawn to Ghana’s positioning as a welcoming nation and a gateway to Africa. The majority of those granted citizenship, particularly those in the 2019 group, were already residents of Ghana and merely requested the opportunity to become citizens.

Ghana has long given citizenship to diasporan Africans who have established residency. Former President John Mahama oversaw a naturalization ceremony “restoring” citizenship to 34 diasporan Africans in December 2016, just before he left office. From the founding of the modern nation in 1957, early Ghanaian leaders led by the first president Kwame Nkrumah preached Pan-Africanism, one that transcended the shores of continental Africa.