The impacts of the slave trade, according to President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, have been disastrous to both the African continent and the African Diaspora, with the entire time of slavery impeding Africa’s progress in terms of its economy, culture, and psychology.
President Akufo-Addo emphasized the need for reparations for Africa and the African diaspora during his speech at the Reparations and Racial Healing Summit on August 1, 2022.
He lamented the fact that reparations “become a debate” only when it pertains to Africa and Africans, though.
The President claimed that when the British abolished slavery, all the owners of enslaved Africans received reparations totaling twenty million pounds sterling, or the equivalent of twenty billion pounds sterling in today’s money, but the Africans who were actually held in slavery received nothing.
Similarly, in the United States, slave owners received $300 for each slave they held but the slaves themselves received nothing.
In fact, after the success of the great Haitian Revolution, the first in the Americas and the Caribbean to free the slaves, Haiti had to pay reparations of twenty-one billion dollars ($21 billion) to French slaveowners in 1825.
President Akufo-Addo stated, “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”.
He added, “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.”
The President reiterated that no amount of money could undo the harm brought on by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its repercussions, which have lasted for many centuries “nevertheless, it is now time to revive and intensify the discussions about reparations for Africa. Indeed, the time is long overdue.”
Thus, he urged summit attendees not to focus too much on the specifics of how reparations should be paid but rather to first establish clearly the righteousness of the request for reparations.
“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 President added.
President Akufo-Addo asked the African Union to interact with “our kith and kin from the diaspora” and establish a united front to push the cause of reparations in light of the fact that the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, has taken the lead in the reparations issue.
“The discourse on reparations cannot succeed without emphasis on racial healing. We need to heal from the wrongs of the past in order to capitalise on the opportunities that await us in the future,” he added.