Not that I did not expect it, for President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has already proven himself to be one of the most effective Foreign Ministers in the country’s history; and as President, Ghana has begun to healthily reap some of the benefits of his expertise in a most progressive and constructive manner that did not exist before. Indeed, we witnessed this in the President’s recent meeting with Mrs. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the Maltese President, at the Flagstaff House, during which the Ghanaian leader highlighted the imperative need for the more economically advanced European countries to help reduce the great influx of African migrants into Europe by investing in the area of job creation and economic development of countries like Ghana that have the potential and great capacity for the same (See “We’ll Tackle Illegal Migration – Nana Addo” Citifmonline.com / Modernghana.com 7/27/17).
Equally significantly, as he has done in the recent past, Nana Akufo-Addo also emphasized the need for the human rights of African migrants in Europe to be respected and protected, irrespective of residential and employment status, in accordance with the tenets of international law. Still, President Akufo-Addo ought to have further underscored the indispensable fact that merely establishing an Emergency Migration Fund to assist African migrants in European Union countries to be returned home and be reintegrated into the societies of their countries of origin is not enough. Rather, European experts in socioeconomic integration must be stationed in the countries of returnee illegal migrants to ensure that the proper mechanisms envisioned by the architects of the Emergency Migration Fund have been put in place to facilitate the productive and meaningful reintegration of these migrant returnees into the societies of their countries of origin, so as not to have these returnees leave their countries of origins, once again, for even more dangerous adventures abroad. In other words, what is most needed here is not the mere offer of financial assistance by the EU countries to the governments of countries with the most massive influx of migrants into Europe. Rather, what is needed more than anything else, is for the afore-referenced European experts to help these economically underdeveloped African countries and their governments to forge a more progressive and productive means of motivating these migrant returnees and other potential illegal migrants find better alternatives to the inhospitable conditions that they often meet with in an increasingly migrant-fatigued and economically distressed Europe. It was also an eloquent testimony to President Akufo-Addo’s diplomatic skills to have a Maltese president pay a working tour of Ghana, and the first of its kind since Ghana reasserted its sovereignty from British colonial rule some 60 years ago. It is hoped that President Akufo-Addo’s decision to leverage his diplomatic skills for the maximum possible benefit to the country becomes a ringing success.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 30, 2017