A Ghana reparations summit agrees on a global fund to compensate Africans for the slave trade

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Delegates at a reparations summit in Ghana agreed Thursday to establish a Global Reparation Fund to push for overdue compensation for millions of Africans enslaved centuries ago during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Accra Reparation Conference adds to the growing demands for reparations after about 12 million Africans were forcefully taken by European nations from the 16th to the 19th century and enslaved on plantations that built wealth at the price of misery.

Centuries after the end of the slave trade, people of African descent around the world continue “to be victims of systemic racial discrimination and racialized attacks,” concluded a recent report by a special U.N. forum which supported reparations as “a cornerstone of justice in the 21st century.”

“It is time for Africa — whose sons and daughters had their freedoms controlled and sold into slavery — to also receive reparations,” said Ghana’s President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo at the conference, attended by senior government officials from across Africa as well as the diaspora community.

Slave reparations have become an issue the world “must confront and can no longer ignore,” said Akufo-Addo, calling out the British and other European nations who enriched themselves during the slave trade while “enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny.”

Delegates to the conference in Accra did not say how such a reparation fund would operate. But Gnaka Lagoke, an assistant professor of history and pan-African studies, said it should be used to “correct the problems” that the continent is facing in all sectors of its economy.

Compensations are based on “moral and legal rights and dignity of the people,” said Ambassador Amr Aljowailey, strategic adviser to the deputy chairman of the African Union Commission, who read out the resolution titled The Accra Proclamation.

In addition to the Global Reparation Fund, which will be championed by a committee of experts set up by the A.U. Commission in collaboration with African nations, “a special envoy will engage in campaigns as well as litigation and judicial efforts,” said Aljowailey.

Activists have said reparations should go beyond direct financial payments to also include developmental aid for countries, the return of colonized resources and the systemic correction of oppressive policies and laws.

The required amount for compensation will be decided through a “negotiated settlement (that will) benefit the masses,” said Nkechi Taifa, director of the U.S.-based Reparation Education Project.


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