President Nana Akufo-Addo has said payment of reparations to over 20 million Africans who were affected by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, is long overdue.
According to him, slave owners in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) received reparations whereas, those who were enslaved, did not receive any payments at all.
He has therefore called for intensified discussions about reparations or compensation for Africans who were affected over 400 years ago.
Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed participants of the Advancing Justice: Reparations and Radical Healing 4-day Summit at the Kempinski hotel, Accra.
The summit is funded by MacArthur Foundation and co-hosted by African Union, The Africa-America Institute, Global Black and ATJLF in partnership with The Global Circle, Diaspora Affairs of Office of the President as well as Keys and Kredo.
The President noted that though no amount of money could pay for the sufferings of those who were enslaved, it is in the right direction since the effects of the slave trade have been devastating on the continent and the African diaspora.
“Predictably, the question of reparation becomes a debate only when it comes to Africa and the Africans”.
“When the British ended slavery, all the owners of enslaved Africans received reparation up to the tune of 20 million pounds sterling, the equivalent today of 20 billion pounds sterling, but enslaved Africans themselves, did not receive a penny,” he noted.
The President further indicated that; “Likewise, in the United States, owners of slaves received 300 dollars for every slave they owed. The slaves themselves received nothing”.
“Take the case of Haiti, which had to pay reparations amounting to 21 billion United States dollars for French slave owners 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.
“Native American 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 Hitler’s Germany, received reparations, including homeland grants and support” the President stated.
He added “so it is time for Africa, 20 million of who’s sons and daughters had their freedoms curtailed and sold into slavery also to receive reparation”.
“No amount of money can restore the damaged caused by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its consequences which have spanned many centuries”.
“But nevertheless, it is now time to revive and intensify the discussions about reparations for Africa. Indeed, the time is long overdue” President Akufo-Addo added.
He said “there are legions of stories of families who were torn apart. You cannot quantify the effects of such tragedies, but they need to be recognized. African, her people, lost out tremendously in that period and its ripple effects are still being felt right to this very day. Reparations for African and the African diaspora are long overdue”.
The summit is being held to discuss and examine options for addressing the reparation intervention gaps in the world as well as achieve racial healing.
It also seeks to create a platform for the unification of a transcontinental plan for reparations.
Participants will have the opportunity to visit historical places like Assin Manson, Cape Coast Castle among others.