NEW ORLEANS — Over the upcoming holiday weeks, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, accompanied by two staff members, will be traveling to Ghana as guests and participants of the ESSENCE Full Circle events. The Mayor will also serve as a speaker on the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum. This marks the inaugural international convening of government officials, entrepreneurs, executives and entertainers to discuss how new opportunities for economic development and cultural exchange can be created and how the private sector can lead this development to sustainably transform our communities.
The 2019 ESSENCE Full Circle Festival and Economic Forum also commemorates the "Year of Return" — marking 400 years since the first slave ships left Ghanaian coasts for the transatlantic slave trade. This trip was planned in part by the Mayor’s Offices of Intergovernmental Relations, Community & Economic Development and Cultural Economy in an effort to strengthen the Cantrell Administration’s vision of greater international relations and global cultural exchange for New Orleans.
During her visit, Mayor Cantrell will travel to several cities across Ghana. One of the stops will be to the city of Cape Coast, where she will execute a formal Sister City agreement with Mayor Ernest Arthur of Cape Coast. The Mayor first visited Cape Coast in 2012 as a City Councilmember, and has long since envisioned creating a sister city connection to further strengthen relations and provide mutual benefits for our communities.
The remainder of the itinerary will include meetings with several African dignitaries including the President and First Lady of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo; Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah; and Mayor of Kumasi, Osei Assibey Antwi. While in the city of Kumasi, in addition to meeting with Mayor Antwi, Mayor Cantrell will perform a community day of service, and visit a local hospital and nursing college. She returns to New Orleans on Jan. 4, 2020.