Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has emphasised the pressing need for financial reparations to be granted to Africans and the diaspora as a form of compensation for the historical enslavement of people of African descent. The president made this statement on Tuesday during the inaugural day of a conference dedicated to addressing these long-standing injustices.

By Staff Reporter

In a heartfelt appeal, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged African leaders to unite and present a cohesive stance in seeking reparations for the historical injustices of the transatlantic slave trade and colonial era.

During a reparations conference with African leaders in Accra, Akufo-Addo stressed the significance of solidarity among African nations in addressing the enduring impact of these past wrongs.

His call for unity comes as African countries and Africans in the diaspora grapple with the repercussions of centuries of exploitation and oppression. The transatlantic slave trade forcibly displaced millions of Africans and subjected them to inhumane conditions, leaving a painful legacy.

Moreover, the colonial era stripped African nations of their resources and subjected them to economic exploitation, resulting in lasting inequality and underdevelopment.

Acknowledging the necessity for collective action, Akufo-Addo urged African leaders to come together and demand reparations for the immense suffering endured by their ancestors. By presenting a united front, he believes that African nations can amplify their voices and enhance the prospects of achieving justice and redress.

“The entire period of slavery meant that our progress, economically, culturally, and psychologically, was stifled. There are legions of stories of families who were torn apart,” Akufo-Addo said.

“You cannot quantify the effects of such tragedies, but they need to be recognised. No amount of money can restore the damage caused by the transatlantic slave trade. But surely, this is a matter that the world must confront and can no longer ignore,” Akufo-Addo said at the opening of the four-day reparations conference in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

He urged Africans to join forces with the Caribbean in pursuing reparations, describing it as a “valid demand for justice.”

“We in Africa must work together with them to advance the cause,”  he said, followed by a round of applause from the audience, which comprised of fellow African and Caribbean heads of state and other distinguished delegates.

“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,” he added.

Approximately 12.5 million Africans were forcibly taken from their homes, transported across the oceans by European traders, and subsequently sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries. Those who survived the gruelling journey were forced to work on plantations in the Americas, enduring unimaginable hardships, while European settlers and others shamefully profited from their labour.

Akufo-Addo, who has been outspoken in advocating for reparations, utilized his address to the UN General Assembly earlier this year to emphasise the need for greater recognition of the consequences of colonial exploitation.

President of the Comoros and African Union Chairperson Azali Assoumani referred to slavery and colonialism as “Africa’s dark phase”, emphasizing that their enduring impact continues to significantly “wreak havoc in our population”.

In a report released in September by the United Nations, it was suggested that nations could explore the option of providing financial restitution, among other forms of compensation. However, the report also highlighted the complexity of pursuing legal claims due to the passage of time and the challenges in identifying both perpetrators and victims.

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