400 years after the first ship carrying slaves arrived in America, more African Americans have started retracing their roots. According to the United Nations, more than 200 million people in the Americas identify as of African descent have experienced epiphanies to reconnect with the Motherland.
An estimated 3000 to 5000 African Americans have permanently moved to Africa and this number is expected to increase given the growing racial tensions in America. “I came from America where I was an outsider, but in Africa, I never felt like that,” says Muhamidda El-Muhajir who moved to Ghana back in 2014 after years of dealing with systemic racism. Muhammad is one of the thousands of Americans that have been granted African citizenship.
From Ghana, Senegal, Gabon and Siera Leone, an influx of citizenship applications has been received from diasporans wishing to reconnect with their ancestral roots. Last year Gabon granted citizenship to rapper Ludacris and Samuel L Jackson while Idris Elba received his from Siera Leone.
In the midst of all this excitement surrounding the African continent, the-not-so-obvious-choice, The Gambia, has emerged the better sweetheart for those pursuing a truly African adventure. Situated on a tiny corner in West Africa next to Senegal, The Gambia is a small country with a population just under 2 million. With only 10000 square kilometres, the country amazes travellers with its multiple beaches overlooking the atlantic ocean, palm trees, wild monkeys and a warm climate.
“The Gambia has an abundance of beauty, beautiful weather, opportunities and a lack of racism,” claims YouTuber Mali Morris, a diasporan who made a conscious decision to move to the country a couple of years ago.
While bureaucratic backlogs may cause frustration when applying for citizenship, the Gambia has a relatively stable economy and is one of the cheapest countries to live in. Rent for an apartment in the city ranges from US$50 to USD300 per month. And for under US$10000 one can acquire acres of land.
The infrastructure is still relatively underdeveloped which presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Repatriates often find themselves starting businesses in property development, ICT, farming and education.
Termed the “Smiling Coast” of Africa, Gambians are the friendliest and warmest people in West Africa. They are well known for their “Welcome home” phrase which they utter whenever they meet a diasporan.
Relocating diasporans will find it easier to settle-in since English is the official language which makes it more attractive than moving to french speaking countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The country is less crowded, safer and vibrant in culture.