Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is pushing for reparations from Europe and the US for slave trade .
Speaking on Monday, August 1, during a summit co-hosted by the AU Commission, the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF), the Africa-American Institute (AAI) and Global Black, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the African leader, said reparations for Africa and the African Diaspora are long overdue.
“Reparations for Africa and the African Diaspora are long overdue. Predictably, the question of reparation becomes a debate only when it comes to Africa and Africans. We believe the calls for reparations for Africa are just,” President Akufo-Addo said at the opening of a four-day summit on the theme: “Advancing justice: Reparations and racial healing” in Accra on Monday.
According to him, the entire continent of Africa deserved a formal apology from the European nations involved in the slave trade for the crimes and damage the trade had done to the population, psyche, image and character of the African the world over.
He further said no amount of money could restore the damage done by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its consequences which spanned many centuries, adding: “We need to heal from the wrongs of the past in order to capitalise on the opportunities that await us in the future.”
President Akufo-Addo said the Caribbean community had taken the lead in the reparations debate and, therefore, urged the AU to engage with “our kith and kin from the Diaspora and form a united front to advance the cause for reparations”.
He recalled that when the British ended slavery, all the owners of enslaved Africans received reparation of 20 million pounds sterling, the equivalent of 20 billion pounds sterling today, but said enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny.
Also in the US, he said, owners of slaves received $300 for every slave they owned, but the slaves themselves received nothing.
“Take the case of Haiti, which had to pay reparations amounting to $21 billion to French slave holders in 1825 for the victory of the great Haitian Revolution, the first in the Americas and the Caribbean where slaves were freed.
“It was a payment made under duress which impoverished Haiti throughout the 19th century till today,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, Addo made a series of tweets buttressing the issue.