Ghana’s president says U.S. and European wealth built on slavery, calls for reparations
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 20, 2023. | AP

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has told the United Nations General Assembly that it is time for African nations to be paid reparations for the historical injustices caused by the transatlantic slave trade.

He said for centuries the developed world has been unwilling the confront its role in the inhuman enslavement of Africans. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Akufo-Addo emphasized that now is the time to bring the subject of reparations to the fore.

“Reparations must be paid,” he insisted, adding that while no amount of money would make up for the horrors of the slave trade, payment would make the point that millions of “productive” Africans were put to work without compensation.

Akufo-Addo insisted that it is time to openly acknowledge “that much of Europe and the United States have been built from the vast wealth harvested from the sweat, tears, blood, and horrors of the transatlantic slave trade.”

The Ghanaian president is a long-standing advocate of reparations who said last year that the time was long overdue to intensify discussions on the issue. He has also called on a number of occasions for a formal apology by European nations that were involved in the trade and urged the African Union bloc to engage the diaspora to advance the reparations cause.

The transatlantic slave trade, which affected millions of Africans, was the largest forced migration in history. Ghana was one of the main points of departure for the slave trade’s horrific middle passage from Africa to the Americas.

In another reference to past injustice, Chilean President Gabriel Boric told the General Assembly that the U.S.-backed coup that deposed his predecessor Salvador Allende and ushered in 17 years of brutal military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet had been “a tragedy,” but he added that a coup “is never inevitable, because there are always other alternatives where violence is not present.”

Honduran President Xiomara Castro told the General Assembly that she believes in a multipolar world in which exchange for development is based on the principles of independence, sovereignty, and non-interference.

She said that the military-industrial complex consumes the majority of the budgets of developed countries, amounting to trillions of dollars and that this contrasts with their indifference and inability to contribute to humanity and the defense of nature.

Global capitalism and the neoliberal model only generate misery, inequality, and insane individualism of consumer societies, while millions of human beings suffer great deprivations, Castro argued.

Morning Star

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.