President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has backed up the call for Europe to make reparations for the effects of the slave trade that were endured by the African and Black Diaspora communities.
He was speaking at the the Accra Reparations Conference 2023, held at the Kempinski Hotel, on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. The president emphasized on the need for closure over the tragedy, which occurred about 400 years before.
“Let me reiterate that the call for reparations is not a plea for alms, but a valid demand for justice. If reparations can rightfully be paid to victims and descendants of the victims of the Holocaust, so can reparations also be paid to the descendants of the victims of the Slave Trade. It has been four hundred (400) years, and we want closure to this tragedy.”
President Akufo-Addo also stressed on the unfair treatment to the Afro-communities, speaking on how owners of the slaves were given reparations instead of the victims themselves.
“When the British ended slavery, all the owners of enslaved Africans received reparations to the tune of twenty million pounds sterling, the equivalent today of twenty billion pounds sterling, but enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny. Likewise in the United States, owners of slaves received three hundred dollars for every slave they owned; the slaves themselves received nothing. Take the case of Haiti, which had to pay reparations amounting to twenty-one billion dollars ($21 billion) to French slaveholders in 1825 for the victory of the great Haitian Revolution, the first in the Americas and the Caribbean which freed the slaves. It was a payment made under duress that impoverished Haiti throughout the 19th century till today.”
He believed that if other indigenous populations are receiving reparations, the African population deserved a greater form of reparation, as he remarked that the amount of damage the continent has suffered can never be fully compensated for.
He further made emphasis on the return of African cultural artefacts and properties that were wrongfully taken to Europeans nations.
“Native Americans have received and continue to receive reparations; Japanese-American families, who were incarcerated in internment camps in America during World War II, received reparations. Jewish people, six million of whom perished in the concentration camps of Hitlerite Germany, received reparations, including homeland grants and support. So, it is time for Africa, twenty million of whose sons and daughters had their freedoms curtailed and sold into slavery, also to receive reparations. No amount of money can restore the damage caused by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its consequences, which have spanned many centuries. Surely, this is a matter that the world must confront, and can no longer ignore.”
“And, even before these discussions on reparations conclude, the entire continent of Africa deserves a formal apology from the European nations involved in the slave trade for the crimes and damage it has caused to the population, psyche, image and character of the African, the world over. The initiative for the return and restitution of African cultural properties to the continent must also be a major issue of concern for all Africans. We must call for the return of African cultural properties that were illegally and shamelessly transported from the continent.”