Ghana trailblazed citizenship for the involuntary diaspora with 2019’s Year of Return, and continued efforts to welcome diasporans back home since.
The 2019 campaign marked 400 years since the first enslaved Africans stepped foot in Virginia. Diasporans from around the world were invited on “a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey” to celebrate “the cumulative resilience of all the victims of the Trans Atlantic slave Trade who were scattered and displaced through the world,” according to the campaign website.
The effort was a resounding success with over a million people traveling to Ghana in 2019, according to the Ghana Tourism Authority.
Since the success of the campaign, the Ghanian government continued to offer incentives for diasporans to move to the country, with fee waivers and hundreds of acres of reserved land.
Building off the momentum of the Year of the Return, Ghana launched Beyond the Return, a decade-long initiative to grow Ghana in the tourism, finance and creative industries.
One of the campaign’s pillars is to create pathways for diasporans to move to Ghana, with “citizenship programs, educational and work exchanges, residence and work permits,” according to the Beyond the Return website.
U.S. citizens have been able to apply for dual citizenship in Ghana since 2002, though Ghana’s legislation is far from standard for the rest of Africa. The rules regarding dual citizenship in Africa vary greatly from country to country.
For many African countries, the hesitancy to legalize dual citizenship is the result of “years of battles with Western imperialism and colonial rule,” according to an article from Quartz Africa.
Dual citizenship in some African countries, such as Ethiopia, requires immigrants to relinquish citizenship from any other country before acquiring citizenship in their desired country.
The African countries that do allow dual citizenship, for the most part, require a prospective citizen to either have a spouse in the desired country or claim citizenship by origin of birth.
Since the early 2000s, many African countries have implemented dual citizenship by marriage, birth or naturalization, including South Africa, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.
As of a 2016 study from the Open Society Foundation, “the states where dual nationality is allowed under the law in most circumstances are: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso,173 Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo Republic, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria,174 Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal,175 Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia.”