How would you show your identity if you lived in a foreign country as a black person? How do you let people there understand you, your culture and your origin?
Well for Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka, a British Born Ghanaian, it wasn’t really a tough task to do as he launched an identity project through a clothing line-Me firi Ghana in 2008.
Being a British born Ghanaian, he felt there were some misconceptions around identity so he created the clothing line, made up of a T-shirt and a jumper with Me firi Ghana (I’m from Ghana) proudly embossed on it.
“The identity project gave wearers the opportunity to express a part of them. Their identity in a way that was cool and Ghanaians embraced it,” he said in an interview with Business World.
Some years down the line, The Future of Ghana initiative was birthed out of Me firi Ghana in a bid to mobilise second generation youth in the diaspora.
For Sarfo- Kantanka, the UK-based initiative is committed towards advancing the course of The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), hitherto known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to ensure that the youth forms part of the agenda.
The initiative focused on second generation young people because, “we believe that they are not being addressed or engaged properly and it’s not the right pathway for them so our organisation exists to create that pathway to act as an intermediary.”
One other way in which the initiative engages the youth is through the Future of Ghana annual publication which honours Ghana’s top 30 under 30 making global impact.
“We want to create and foster a strong alumni network where professionals and individuals with businesses connect while looking at ways to contribute to development and organising capacity building workshops in Ghana.
He believes that although the government is creating an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs, the hurdle is with its accessibility.
To spur interest in entrepreneurship and drive thriving businesses, he suggested that the government should channel direct foreign investments into funds that would lend supporting hands to entrepreneurs.
“This fund should be run by the private sector with solid understanding of business modules, set up hubs, accelerate the hubs to facilitate education and information for entrepreneurs.
“Even though the system is not really enabling to an extent people are still finding avenues to innovate but ways to support these innovation will be to create the right framework to encourage entrepreneurship,” he added.
His organisation is currently on the cusp of launching a research report on March 14. The report seeks to explore how diasporians connect to Ghana, what they contribute to Ghana and what ways they would like to contribute to the development of Ghana.
By Pamela Ofor-Boateng