Bishop TD Jakes’ remark on gov’t landbank for African-American returnees false

There is quite a stir on social media over statements made by American Televangelist, Bishop Thomas Dexter (TD) Jakes, about Ghana and the Akufo-Addo administration.

In a video widely shared on social media, the bishop of the US-based church, Potter’s House, said Akufo-Addo has transformed Ghana through some initiatives since assuming office including making Ghana a destination for Americans and setting aside pieces of land for African-Americans to settle.

Bishop T. D. Jakes made the claim while promoting President Akufo-Addo as one of the speakers at the 2022 International Leadership Summit (ILS), which he is hosting in the United States.

Fact-check Ghana has verified the claim and presents the verdict and explanation below.

Claim: “President Akufo-Addo is also working to transform Ghana into key travel destinations for Americans, but particularly for African-Americans and the African diaspora and progressively promoting investment in the country. Over the last couple of years, Ghana’s government has set aside 500 acres of land for foreigners looking to resettle there.”

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: Ghana unveiled “The year of Return” and “Beyond the Return’ Programmes and threw a lot of appetising deals the way of African-Americans for the past two years, but this does not include the setting aside 500 acres of land by government for foreigners looking to resettle in Ghana.

Fact-Check Ghana reached out to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for clarification on the issue. Technical Director of Lands at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Adu-Nsafua, who responded to the team said he does not have knowledge about government setting aside 500 acres of land to African-Americans or Africans in the diaspora.

“I am not aware of this,” he said.

Fact-Check Ghana was directed to a statement by Annabelle McKenzie, Director and Manager of “Beyond The Return” on the issue when we reached out to the Ghana Tourism Authority for clarification. Ms. McKenzie said the gesture was offered by the Omanhene of Asebu Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana.

“The Okatakyie Dr Amenfi VII, Omanhene of Asebu Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana, allocated the land for a pan African village during the “Year of Return”. I believe that it is 5000 acres. The cost is $1,200 per plot for the registration fee. Over 200 people have purchased plots of land,” she said.

This is not the first time the claim of government providing lands for African-Americans has come up. In June 2020, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, told the US Today in an interview that the purported offers of land and money to African-Americans “is categorically” untrue.

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