BABETTE VAN AALST
You literally had to be living under a rock to miss the hashtag #FULLCIRCLEFESTIVAL which was trending worldwide throughout December 2018 and into the 2019 New Year because simply put, Accra, Ghana was poppin’! Apart from the annual December holidayers there was another special group of visitors who came out to enjoy Ghana during the Christmas/ New Year period.
A movement fronted by actor Boris Kodjoe and business mogul Bozoma Saint John who are both of Ghanaian descent and were mandated by the Ghanaian government to connect those of African descent back to Ghana as a business and tourism destination. Ghanas guests consisted of Hollywood stars and high profile executives as the friends and family of Kudjoe and Saint John flooded in, to open up and create more awareness on the growing potential of Ghana in both sectors. The group were 93 in total - Michael Jai White, Anthony Anderson, Diggy Simmons, Ebro (Hot 97), Jidenna, Naomi Campbell and Nicole Ari Parker made up some of the famous faces spotted over the festive season. And may I just add that they lived their best lives out in Ghana, from sampling the beaches and nightlife to touring Ghanas national sites and treasures. And when they weren’t interacting with local brands, soaking up the culture, attending conferences and festivals or fancy dinners they were creating new opportunities and building networks with the people of the land and it’s custodians.
We actually had the privilege of speaking to the main man assigned to this great mission, Jake Bediako, Youth Ambassador for Diaspora Affairs, who curated the whole event with the help of his team.
“The Full Circle Festival for me,has been a dream come true in terms of providing Ghana with the opportunity to help shape and nuance the global narrative surrounding Africa and the African”_ Jake Bediako, Youth Ambassador for Diaspora Affairs- Office of the President of Ghana.
It’s important to note that this initiative is a collaboration between the Diaspora First Office and Ministry of Tourism (Ghana). It was a fully sponsored event. The government supported in logistics and organisation but the funding essentially came from sponsors and the participants of the festival. The Ghanaian government will continue to push the ‘Year of Return’ agenda throughout 2019 welcoming people from the continent and the Diaspora to reconnect with Ghana, as 2019 also marks 400 years since the start of the Transatlantic slave trade. The Back-2-Africa Festival, the Home Coming and Investment Summit, the African-American Investment Forum, and the Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.
The Full Circle Festival has generated about 13 million impressions across social media and Ghana has even been placed 4th on CNN Travel’s list of places to visit in 2019. We suspect a rise in ticket prices so make sure you start booking your flights to Ghana now! We are so proud of Ghana and to witness the return of many back to the homeland.