Nowadays, more and more people of the African Diaspora are finally returning to Mama Africa and settling in Ghana. It is 2019, the ‘Year of Return’, as proclaimed by Ghanaian president Nana Akuffo-Addo, who has invited all of the Africa’s stolen children to come back home. To make the transition a ‘smooth sailing’ experience (no pun intended), BADA, or the Bureau of African Diaspora Affairs, presents you with these tips for successful repatriation to Ghana.
Yes, there are cultural differences that will take some time getting used to, but let’s cover the basic necessities first. I’m talking food, clothes and shelter, people! Ok, let’s get started.
There are now 16 regions in Ghana, 6 of them which have just been added this year! Learn more about these additions here. The regions are all diverse and with pros and cons. Research and learn about the different regions to see which one suits you best. Most people know about Accra but there is so much more. Here are some links that will help you get more familiar with Ghana, formerly known as The Gold Coast.
Count them Coins!
Save save save! It is imperative to budget appropriately before coming. Check the conversion rate between your country and Ghana, which fluctuates, regularly. Budget for food, transportation, housing, school (for yourself or if you have kids), leisure time and other expenses. Most housing places make you pay for electricity and water separately. Water could range from 50 cedis a month and electricity could start at 20 cedis a month, depending on your household size and usage.
To legally live in Ghana, you need a residence permit. You should fill out the residency application before you arrive in Ghana. You can find the residency application here: http://www.ghanaimmigration.org/r_gh.html To legally work in Ghana, you need a work permit. Fill out your work permit here.
Click here to find a Ghana embassy near you.
It is not easy to find housing in Ghana, especially in Accra, but like all things, with time, patience and bravery, success will come knocking at your door. Using housing sites such as MeQasa will help you find something. Most renters take one or two years rent in advance, so be prepared to fund. Also, renting an Airbnb until you can move in or joining and inquiring about housing to expatriate Facebook groups like African American Association of Ghana, African American in Ghana, and of course, yours truly, the Bureau of Diaspora Affairs is another option. In Ghana, renting agents usually take about 10 percent rent on top of whatever you are paying so make sure to clarify the total costs you will be paying before you close the deal. Also, making sure you check around/ask about the neighborhood is important.
Learn local languages:
It is important to learn languages of the community you inhabit, whether you plan to settle in the: Central Region, where they speak Fanti, Accra region where the local language is Ga, or the Eastern Region where most people speak Akuapem Twi, Western Region where people speak Nzima, or the North of Ghana where people speak languages like Gonja, Dagbani or Dagomba. Apps like TwiJunior, Nkyea, and various language learning books will make the transition easier. Learn about Ghanaian languages here.
Build or bring a business. The economy is still developing. Although it is easier for foreigners to acquire jobs in Ghana, especially those coming from western countries, creating your own income is the ideal situation. From fruit sellers in the market to bofrot connoisseurs along the road to cellphone sellers in Makola Market, entrepreneurship is everywhere you look. Using creativity and strategic planning to create your own income and provide jobs to Ghanaians will bear many fruits for you long term.
Learn more about Entrepreneurship 101: Fueling a Modern Creative African Economy.
See here for information on registering a business in Ghana http://www.gipcghana.com/invest-in-ghana/doing-business-in-ghana/starting-a-business.html
Give Back: Start a NGO
An NGO, or a Non-governmental organization, serves to campaign for social or political purposes. Beginning a NGO in Ghana that focuses on a passion of your choice, would help Ghana develop faster. Here are a list of NGOs in Ghana that could use your support. Click here to learn how to start an NGO in Ghana.
Join a Community!
Community is like a string that keeps people connected. Many organizations in Ghana were created to support repatriates of the African Diaspora. Link up with them! Here are some orgs to get acquainted with:
Thanks for stopping by! What tips or questions do you have about repatriation? Comment below!