In a fervent address at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on Thursday, September 20th, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made a compelling case for reparations for the historical injustices of the slave trade. He underscored the enduring economic and social ramifications that the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonial exploitation have inflicted upon the African continent.
President Akufo-Addo elucidated that much of the prosperity and development witnessed in Europe and the United States were significantly bolstered by the vast wealth extracted through the harrowing trans-Atlantic slave trade and subsequent centuries of colonial exploitation. He emphasized the dire need for the global community, especially the nations that benefited from these historical injustices, to openly acknowledge this dark chapter of history and take steps toward reparations.
The Ghanaian leader acknowledged that while no amount of money could ever compensate for the horrors and the loss of human dignity endured, reparations are crucial for acknowledging the crimes committed. He stressed that the benefits accrued from the slave trade are intricately interwoven with the present-day economic architecture of the nations that orchestrated and profited from it. His call for reparations resonated among the attendees, as evidenced by a round of applause that followed his remarks.
Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo highlighted the illicit flow of funds from Africa, urging for these funds to be returned to the continent to aid in its development. He expressed a poignant hope that making necessary structural changes within the United Nations could help rebuild trust and reignite global solidarity, thereby creating a brighter trajectory towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a broader context, this bold address by President Akufo-Addo comes at a pivotal time when discussions around reparations for historical injustices are gaining momentum globally. He announced a dedicated conference on reparations to be held in Ghana’s capital, Accra, in November under the sponsorship of the African Union, marking a significant step towards a concerted effort to address historical injustices.
President Akufo-Addo’s speech not only sheds light on the long-lasting impacts of the slave trade but also challenges the global community to acknowledge and address historical injustices to foster a more equitable and just world. His call for reparations signifies a growing recognition of the need to redress the past to build a more inclusive and equitable future.