The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has demanded the payment of reparations for the countries affected by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Taking his turn to deliver Ghana’s national statement at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President noted that the time has come for Europe and the United States of America to acknowledge that the vast wealth they enjoy was harvested from the sweat, tears, blood and horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the centuries of colonial exploitation.
“No amount of money will ever make up for the horrors, but it would make the point that evil was perpetrated, that millions of productive Africans were snatched from the embrace of our continent and put to work in the Americas and the Caribbean without compensation for their labor.” “Maybe we should also admit that it cannot be easy to build confident and prosperous societies from nations that, for centuries, had their natural resources looted and their peoples traded as commodities.”
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the world has been unwilling and unable to confront the realities of the consequences of the slave trade.
However, he indicated that this is changing gradually, and it is time to firmly bring the subject of reparations to the fore.
“Granted that current generations are not the ones that engaged in the slave trade, but that grand inhuman enterprise was state-sponsored and deliberate, and its benefits are interwoven with the present-day economic architecture of the nations that designed and executed it.” “If there are any hesitations in some minds about the paying of reparations, it is worth it because, when slavery was abolished, the slave owners were compensated for the loss of the slaves because the human beings were labeled as property, deemed to be commodities. Surely, this is a matter that the world must confront and can no longer ignore. The AU has authorized Ghana to hold a global conference on the issue in November in Accra.”
Touching on the vexed matter of illegal financial flows from Africa, he referred to the report of the panel chaired by the highly respected former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the illicit flow of funds from Africa, which states that Africa is losing, annually, more than eighty-eight billion United States dollars ($88 billion) through illicit financial outflows.
“Yes, those monies too must be returned to the continent. It is difficult to understand why recipient countries are comfortable retaining such funds and are happy to call those countries from which the funds are taken corrupt.
He believed that a joint task force of the African Union Commission and the OECD Secretariat, under the auspices of the UN, should be charged to find ways of stopping the damaging outflows.
President Akufo-Addo used the occasion to call on fellow heads of state and governments to insist on immediate reforms at the Security Council to conform with the growing trends of today, remarking that it is long overdue to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa.
After serving on the Council at this difficult time in the world, our views on the need for reform have been even more strongly re-asserted.” He told the gathering of world leaders that the UN, in its current shape, “cannot continue to preach democracy, equality and good governance around the globe; we cannot insist on peace and justice in the world when our global organization is seen by the majority of its members and the people of the world as hampered by an unjust and unfair structure.”
With Ghana currently serving out the second of her two-year term on the Security Council as a non-permanent member, President Akufo-Addo expressed disappointment at parochial interests in the corridors of the Security Council.
He stressed that, if the Assembly has quite properly chosen the rebuilding of trust as critical to restoring stability and prosperity to our world, “it cannot perpetuate an unfair world order.