Delegates convened at the Accra Reparation Conference in Ghana on Thursday reached a historic agreement to create a Global Reparation Fund, aiming to secure long-overdue compensation for the millions of Africans subjected to enslavement during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, writes the AP.
The conference contributes to the escalating calls for reparations, driven by the harsh reality that approximately 12 million Africans were forcibly taken by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries, enduring enslavement on plantations that generated wealth at the cost of immense suffering.
According to a recent report from a special U.N. forum, individuals of African descent globally persist as “victims of systemic racial discrimination and racialized attacks,” with reparations identified as “a cornerstone of justice in the 21st century.”
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, emphasized the urgency for Africa, whose “sons and daughters” endured stolen freedoms and were sold into slavery, to receive reparations. The conference, attended by senior government officials from Africa and the diaspora community, underscored the ongoing impact of systemic racial discrimination.
Akufo-Addo expressed that the issue of slave reparations is one the world “must confront and can no longer ignore.” He called out British and other European nations that enriched themselves during the slave trade while highlighting that “enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny.”
Delegates at the Accra conference did not provide specific details on how the reparation fund would operate. Gnaka Lagoke, an assistant professor of history and pan-African studies, suggested its use should be to “correct the problems” present in all sectors of the continent’s economy.
Ambassador Amr Aljowailey, strategic adviser to the deputy chairman of the African Union Commission, announced the resolution titled The Accra Proclamation. Alongside the establishment of the Global Reparation Fund, a committee of experts, in collaboration with African nations, will champion the initiative. Additionally, a “special envoy will engage in campaigns as well as litigation and judicial efforts,” as outlined by Aljowailey.
Activists have emphasized that reparations should extend beyond direct financial payments, incorporating developmental aid, the return of colonized resources, and the rectification of oppressive policies and laws.
The determination of the compensation amount will follow a “negotiated settlement (that will) benefit the masses,” according to Nkechi Taifa, director of the U.S.-based Reparation Education Project.