Fifty-nine African Americans are officially new citizens of Sierra Leone after a ceremony on April 29, 2021, in Freetown. “When President Bio signed my documents saying I’m officially Sierra Leonean, when I took my oath, and he gave me my passport … it was a surreal feeling,” said Prince Dynast Amir, an entrepreneur from Atlanta. President H.E. Dr. Julius Maada Bio gave each person their citizenship documents.
The ceremony was the inaugural one under a new partnership with African Ancestry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Monuments and Relics Commission and the Office of the President. This will be an ongoing program that gives African-Americans the opportunity to obtain citizenship in Sierra Leone when they prove their ancestral lineage through DNA. “We welcome you to acquire land, live in our communities, invest, build capacity and take advantage of business opportunities,” said President Bio during the ceremony.
Dr. Gina Paige is the co-founder and president of African Ancestry. She said there was a sense of pride for all the new citizens having completed a full-circle moment by physically returning to the country and receiving a document that says, “You are home, you are one of us.” Paige said that this partnership is a significant milestone since the company started 18 years ago. “It’s transformed the total experience of what it is to be an AfricanAncestry.com customer.”
Diallo Sumbry, CEO of The Adinkra Group and partnerships director with African Ancestry, worked closely with the Sierra Leone government to facilitate the program. “What we’re doing is life-changing, it’s historic, and I hope that we are able to create a direct pathway to citizenship in every West African country,” he said.
Once AfricanAmericans obtain citizenship in Sierra Leone, they no longer need to apply for tourist visas to travel to any West African country. For information on how you can obtain citizenship, contact www.africanancestry.com.