On the 31st of May, 2003, the executives of UGAG and the Ghana Unions of Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Kaiserslautern, Krefeld, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, Munich, Saabrücken and Worms met in Cologne to discuss about the formation of an umbrella organization, whose aim would be to assist Ghanaians in Germany and initiate development projects in Ghana. After series of meetings in Cologne, Saarbrücken and finally Landshut, which brought in other members from Landshut and Stuttgart, the Union of Ghanaian Association in Germany (UGAG) was formed and a fresh 5-member National Executive Committee was elected to mange the affairs of the Union.
The Union, which is non-political, non-ethnic, religiously neutral and non-profit making has its membership open to all Ghanaian associations and religious bodies in Germany. Some of the founding members are presently not very active whiles Ghana Unions in Bremen, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, Köln, Freiburg, Munich, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Bonn, and Kiel &Schleswig-Holstein have joined the union. The union, which has its seat in Köln, has the following aims and objectives among others:
- To support and co-ordinate the activities of all affiliated Ghana Unions and associations at local and national levels
- To represent and serve as a mouthpiece for Ghanaians at the state, federal and international levels
- To serve as a medium and link between the Ghanaian Community and the Ghana Embassy in Germany
- To promote integration and harmonious intercultural relations between Ghanaians and Germans, and between Ghanaians and members of other communities living in Germany.
Since its formation UGAG has lived up to its aims and objectives by:
- Negotiating with Lufthansa and other airlines to reduce fares for passengers flying to Ghana
- UGAG had to play a negotiating role between Lufthansa and the Ghanaian Community in Germany concerning the practice allowing passengers, who have booked Lufthansa flights to be flown by other Airlines in smaller machines and late baggage arrivals in Ghana
- We have been able to organize four cultural festivals first in Cologne then in Karlsruhe, followed by Worms and Stuttgart.
- The union organizes lectures to educate and inform Ghanaians in the areas of pension schemes in Germany-how it affects the Ghanaian, banking and investment opportunities in Ghana, Returnee programes among others.
- The union also launched the Ghana Solidarity Fund. Here donors can donate at least one Euro per month and the proceeds to be used to support unfortunate Ghanaian school children, who need support, because their parents cannot afford to support them at school
- In 2012 computers, computer monitors, pens and pencils were distributed to two schools in
Ghana; one in the North and the other in the South of Ghana. In this regard we wish to thank
Ghana Cargo for its support in transporting these goods to Ghana free of charge. We used money donated into the fund to purchase these materials.
- Through UGAG, the relationship between Ghanaians living in Germany has improved tremendously especially between Ghanaians in Germany and the Ghana Embassy, Berlin
- UGAG took part in a number of Seminars and Workshops on Immigrations, Integration, Reintegration issues, and on linking the Ghanaian Diaspora to the development of Ghana
- UGAG is currently helping to guide Ghanaians who would want support their relatives and friends to improve their businesses in Ghana. This is being done with introduction of WIDU project, initiated by GIZ.
There is much more we can do, that’s why we need more donors. UGAG is still negotiating with the German and Ghana Governments to enable Ghanaians receive full pension benefits, if they decide to live in Ghana after retirement. Ghanaians receive reduced pension benefit, when they decide to live in Ghana. Other African countries like Morocco, Tunisia etc. are exempted from this regulation and receive full pension benefit. This must apply for Ghanaians. To this effect UGAG presented a signed petition to the Ghana Government which was presented at a National
Diaspora Colloquium held in August 2012 in Accra. (See attached Petition) Ghana-German Cultural Festival. There are set-backs like financial difficulties, failing popularity among Ghanaian associations, limitations in our effectiveness as regards our coordination function among others.
However we are not daunted, but focused to move forward. UGAG intends to strengthen its ties with other Diaspora Organisations. In the Netherlands and Italy preliminary contacts have taken place.
Currently, the National Executive Council is made up of: Mr. Akwasi Opoku-Edusei-President; Mr. Alexander Okai Anane– Vice President; Mr. Aaron Hooper – General Secretary; Mr. Paul Darmoe- Deputy General Secretary; Mr. Paul Hossou – Financial Secretary; Mrs. Cecilia Biritwum – Organising Secretary; Mr. Emmanuel Ossei-Wusu – Deputy Organising Secretary.
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