2020 Ghana Logo Final Green

At the Memphis in May International Festival Annual Meeting at the Memphis Botanic Garden tonight, festival officials reviewed the results of the 2019 festival and announced the Republic of Ghana as the subject of 2020’s cultural salute.

With a population of approximately thirty million, Ghana is situated on the west coast of Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. Early Ghana became a trade destination for many European countries and was known throughout a large part of its history as the Gold Coast due to its rich mineral wealth. Today it is hailed as the golden country of West Africa boasting membership in the United Nations, a stable democracy, and a strong economy fueled by tourism, mining, and oil. 

Visitors come from around the world to experience Ghana’s panoramic scenery and diverse wildlife; from national parks featuring elephants, crocodiles and antelopes, to monkey sanctuaries, hippo sanctuaries, picturesque mountains and breathtaking waterfalls.  With its location on the coast, Ghana is noted for its numerous forts and castles which were built in the 15th Century by the Europeans.  Several prominent American leaders including former President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have visited the Elmina Castle in Cape Coast which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The coastline also offers many opportunities for relaxation at beautiful resorts situated on their miles of exotic beaches.

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from the British in 1957 and was the first to launch a cellular network in 1992, and one of the first African countries with broadband internet connectivity.  Economically, Ghana is proud to be the world’s second largest exporter of cocoa and the largest producer of gold in Africa.

“We look forward to presenting this leader on the African continent and rising star in the global community to Memphis and the Mid-South in May 2020,” said James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival.  “Rich in natural resources, exports and culture, this is an exciting time for Memphians to discover and explore Ghana.”

The nation of Ghana is looking forward to the salute from Memphis, too. His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Bawuah, the Republic of Ghana's ambassador to the United States visited Memphis in summer of 2018 to meet with festival officials and city leaders and returned with a small delegation for Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest this past May, where he served as a guest judge.

“Ghana is proud to have been selected as the Honored Country for Memphis in May 2020,” said Ambassador Adjei-Bawuah. “We are thankful to the City and the organizers for this honor and we are looking forward to bringing Ghana to Memphis and giving the City and her people an experience of a lifetime. Let us look forward to enjoying Ghana’s culture and the African feeling.”

Each year, Memphis in May International Festival organizes a trip to explore the honored country in advance of the May salute.  Board Chair Charles Ewing and President and CEO James L. Holt will lead the trip to Ghana in March 2020.  Those interested in the trip may visit the International Tour page on here or call the Memphis in May International Festival office at 901-525-4611 for more information.

In addition to this year’s honored country, the 2020 festival dates were announced as follows:

2020 Memphis in May International Festival Dates
Month-long Salute to Ghana: May 1-31, 2020
Beale Street Music Festival: May 1-3, 2020
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 13-16, 2020
Great American River Run: May 23, 2020

About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs in 2018 contributed more than $137.7 million annually in economic impact to the community, fostered civic pride, promoted awareness of Memphis’ heritage, and built international relationships and understanding through education. 
Memphis in May is the official festival of the City of Memphis, the recipient of 211 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association and has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For.  The Beale Street Music Festival was named one of the World’s Top Festivals by Fest300 and made Forbes’ list of “5 Underrated Music Festivals You Should Attend.”  In 2018, Memphis topped CNN Travel’s list of international destinations to visit in May specifically because of the Memphis in May events.

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