President Nana Akufo-Addo has bemoaned the selectivity of some European countries when it comes to paying reparations for slaves they took captive during the slave trade era.
In a speech at the Reparations and Racial Healing Summit on Monday, President Akufo-Addo called on the African continent to intensify the efforts and discourses on the reparations from Trans-Atlantic Slave trade which he described as “long overdue”.
“It is now time to revive and intensify the discussions about reparations for Africa. Indeed, the time is long overdue,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also cited continents and geographical regions whose reparations had been paid many years ago.
“Jewish people, six million of whom perished in the concentration camps of Hitlerite Germany, received reparations, including homeland grants and support.”
He added that “Native Americans have received and continue to receive reparations; Japanese-American families, who were incarcerated in internment camps in America during World War II, also received reparations.”
President Akufo-Addo also noted reparations which were disbursed by some European countries ended up in the hands of slavekeepers instead of the African people who were actually enslaved.
“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 the enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny,” he stated.
He further demanded an apology, on behalf of Africans, from European nations for the myriad of crimes and atrocities they had committed during the slave trade and the “damage it has caused to the population, psyche, image, and character of Africans the world over.”
The Transatlantic slave trade was a part of the global slave trade that transported over 10 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th century. It was the second of three stages of the so-called triangular trade, in which arms, textiles, and wine were shipped from Europe to Africa; enslaved people from Africa to the Americas; and sugar and coffee from the Americas to Europe. Atrocities and sexual abuse of the enslaved captives were widespread.
After several prohibitions and laws to ban the practice, it was first officially outlawed by Great Britain in 1833, whose navy diligently opposed the trade of enslaved people in the Atlantic and used its ships to try to prevent slave-trading operations.