Ghana's President, Nana Akufo-Addo, earlier this week demanded financial reparations and an apology from countries that participated in the slave trade over centuries in Africa.
Will the former British colonies move the lines and allow the continent to obtain compensation for having been reduced to slavery in recent centuries? Between the middle of the 15th century and the end of the 19th century, at least 12,5 million Africans were deported to the Americas and the Atlantic islands. According to several historians, 1,5 million people perished during the crossings. But the numbers would actually be much higher.
In Nigeria, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, aka Bashorun — understand “Chief”, in English —, has been campaigning for years for the continent to obtain reparations for slavery and colonialism, since the 1980s. the Africans of the Diaspora", in Lagos, in December 1990. A conference which recommended calling upon the Organization of African Unity (OAU) so that the latter supports the initiative of Bashorun and brings weight to a future intervention before the United Nations. "Chief" Bashorun was then the first high-ranking political figure, since he was a Nigerian presidential candidate, to address this theme of reparation.
Since then, this fight seems to have run out of steam. But it was without counting on the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo. The one who has just left the presidency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has found a new hobbyhorse. At the beginning of the week, during a joint summit of the African Union, the African Fund for Transitional Justice, the Afro-American Institute (AAI) and Global Black, Nana Akufo-Addo addressed for the first time the question of reparations and apologies from former colonial powers involved in slavery.
Healing from a terrible past
On Tuesday, the Ghanaian head of state gave a layer concerning the "reparations and racial healing" of Africa after the slave trade. Nana Akufo-Addo deplores that slaveholders were, at the time, compensated: "Take the case of Haiti, which had to pay reparations amounting to 21 billion dollars to French slaveholders, in 1825, for the victory of the great Haitian revolution, the first in the Americas and the Caribbean where slaves were freed,” he said. Before also recalling the reparation of British and American slavers by their respective governments.
"It is time that Africa, whose 20 million sons and daughters had their freedoms curtailed and were sold as slaves, also received reparations", indicated the Ghanaian president, who affirms that "the whole period of the slavery retarded the economic, cultural and psychological progress of Africa”.
In addition to financial reparations, Nana Akufo-Addo, quoted by afrik.com, also believes that "the whole of the African continent deserves an official apology from the European nations involved in the slave trade for the crimes and the damage that this trade has caused to the population, to the psyche, to the image and character of Africans all over the world”.
It now remains to be seen whether the Head of State and former ECOWAS boss will initiate an official process for his request to be successful. It will then be necessary, in this case, a total union of African countries, which will have to go to the UN forum to plead their case.