ACCRA, GHANA – Thursday 8th August, 2019 – The Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (The HACSA) Summit 2019 began with a full week of learning, celebration, commemoration and inspiration under the theme 400 Years On: Legacy, Communities; Innovation.
Following a successful launch, attended by important names across the African continent and the globe such as Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Summit took place at the prestigious Kempinski Hotel in Accra from 5th to the 11th of August 2019. This international Summit will see the participation of renowned luminaries, high profile personalities, government officials and many more,
It examines the 400-year legacy of the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved African people. It aims to link, reunite and reconcile affected communities and share examples of innovation and creative strategies to overcome the persistent effects of the transatlantic slave trade. The HACSA Summit 2019 will coincide and endorsed by Ghana’s National ‘Year of Return’, which symbolically marks the 400th anniversary since enslaved Africans arrived in the US. The Summit is organised under the patronage of UNESCO which has a mission to preserve the history and memory of the transatlantic slave trade under the UNESCO Slave Route Project.
The Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa, HACSA is a volunteer-led, volunteer-run, non-profit, non-partisan non-governmental organisation and social enterprise founded by Ambassador Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s former Ambassador to France, Portugal, UNESCO and La Francophonie. HACSA’s mission is to highlight the importance of heritage and culture for sustainable socio-economic development and improved standards of living in Africa. Their work is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, with greater attention to promoting gender quality, innovation, job creation and economic growth.
HACSA believes that the Continent should take advantage of this rich cultural diversity in its quest for economic development. It should be used to change and improve the standards towards work, interpersonal trust, time, youth and women, creating employment, showcasing excellence and promoting made in Africa goods and services.
This year, the event has brought together Heads of State, opinion leaders, practitioners, academics and participants from Africa and the diaspora to have open and meaningful debates on how to develop the continent. Among the speakers this year, there were highly esteemed men and women, including the Vice-President of Liberia, H.E Jewel Howard Taylor; Ghana’s First Lady, H.E Rebecca Nana Akuffo-Addo; former President of Ghana, H.E John Agyekum Kuffuor, Vice-Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Prof. Arthur Mutambara; Impact Investor & Advisor in Africa, Dana Reed; CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne; DreamOval’s Senior Vice President, Charles Kollo; Mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre de Gaétan Njikam Mouliom; and Morgan Stanley MD, Lisa Opoku.
The Summit focuses on three main topics, Legacy, Communities and Innovation and it will be a unique opportunity to bring people together, create a global valued network of Africans from the Diaspora, African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, young people, large delegations of African Diaspora bankers from Wall Street, investors and those who are interested in reconnecting and see Africa’s potential and opportunities.
H.E Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice-President of Liberia, said ” the leadership of Ghana is setting the country up to be a stellar example of what leadership should be and that the Ghanaian government is providing everyone the world the environment to discuss not only our past but our future.” She continued and said: “Ghana is an important place because as you look at the West African region, the leadership here, exemplified by the ministers who are working, are setting Ghana up as a stellar example of what leadership can be.”
The organisation has partnered with youth and diaspora organisations as partners such as the All African Students Union, Future of Ghana and Ghana Union, UK. This event will provide them with opportunities to be mentored by incredible pioneers across different industries and to develop leadership skills.
The Summit includes keynote speakers, panel discussions, academic presentations from descendants of the renowned enslaved African-American Venture Smith and the descendants of Barclays Bank, Innovation, Trade and Investment Expo, an archaeological exhibition of objects salvaged from the Marine Drive Site by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Ghana, a film screening with some cast/crew of The Black Panther Movie, a remembrance and candlelight vigil, a Gala dinner dance showcasing African food, fashion, music and guided tours of key heritage sites in Ghana.