A group of African Americans as well as other foreigners who are returning to Africa are looking to find a permanent base in Rwanda, they revealed on Monday, December 7. Jackson Baraka Kenyatta, an American businessman from Illinois, Chicago, told The New Times on Monday that he was hoping to do business and settle in Rwanda. “I definitely have a better life (in the US) but at the end of the day, my energy still goes to building their industries and society,” he said. “So I just want to come to Africa, use my skills and energy to build the continent.” Baraka runs A2K Technology Group, has previously worked in Kenya consulting for the World Bank, and travelled in countries such as Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Egypt. “In America, I was born there but it’s not home,” the technology engineer who has chosen to do business in Rwanda and across East Africa, noted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “Everywhere you go, people look at you as if you are not supposed to be there, especially when you are doing well,” he said, referring to the racial tensions in the US. He was among a group of 15 foreigners, mostly from the United States of America, who had requested to meet government officials to express their interest to settle in Rwanda. Imahkus Nzingah Okofu Ababio, another American citizen, originally from Ghana, shared similar insights with Baraka’s, saying she was attracted to Rwanda by the hospitable environment. “I like the people, I like the opportunities available, and the fact that there’s zero tolerance to corruption. There’s absolutely nothing that anyone in their right mind would not want to experience being in Rwanda,” she said. Ababio’s organisation currently works to empower women in Rwanda through education. “Rwanda is going to be my second home, and I’m bringing my museum, One Africa Remembrance Museum, here.” Renewed momentum There seems to be renewed momentum for people of African descent to return to the continent, and that was seen especially last year when Ghana declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Return’. Ghana launched a project last year to encourage people of African origin to visit their motherland to mark four centuries since the start of slavery. As a result, some 750,000 people heeded the call and travelled to the country in 2019. But some African-Americans went even further and have answered the call to settle and invest on the continent. According to Manasseh Nshuti, the State Minister for East African Community Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, more than 100 people of African descent directly expressed interest to settle in Rwanda this year. “There are so many who came, expressed confidence in our leadership and stability. We all wish that we can welcome our African brothers and sisters,” he said. Nshuti welcomed the individuals and those who came with their families, telling them that Rwanda was ready to accommodate anyone wishing to return to Africa. “You are welcome and you are part of us. When you say black lives matter, they matter here. This is your land,” he told the group that was meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For now, those who expressed interest through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to settle in the country will have to pass through official channels of obtaining relevant documents allowing them to work, and reside here. However, the State Minister told them that the government was flexible enough to even extend special treatment to those who want to settle and do business in the country. A proposed draft law that was approved by the cabinet in July, once passed by the parliament, would allow foreigners with special skills and talents to obtain citizenship on the basis of national interest. Ismael Buchanan, a political scientist and a professor at the University of Rwanda, doesn’t think the return of African Americans and others of African descent is a new trend. “This is not something new, but we are seeing a growing momentum of returnees in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia,” he said. “It is, however, the first time we see a huge number of people directly expressing interest to the Rwandan officials to settle here,” he added. Buchanan asserted that many may not be necessarily returning to the continent to do business, rather to explore their original roots as well as connect with their ancestry.