President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, addressing the opening session of the four-day Conference, being hosted by Ghana, said the trans-Atlantic slave trade “is the most barbaric episode in human history.
He argued that the injustices and inhumane treatment meted out to the people continued to haunt the African society and those in the Diaspora.
Those atrocities have robbed the people of their self-esteem, dignity and image.
He said the effects of the slave trade had been devasting to the continent and to the African people.
The entire period of slavery, the President noted, meant that Africa’s progress, economically, culturally, and psychologically was stifled.
“You cannot quantify the effects of such tragedy, but there is a need to recognize that African people lost tremendously in that period, and its recorded ripple effects are still being felt right to this day.
“Reparations for Africa and the African Diaspora are long overdue,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo stressed however that no amount of money can restore the damage caused by the transatlantic slave trade because its consequences will be felt for many centuries.
“But surely, this is a matter that the world must confront and can no longer ignore.
The conference is being co-organised by Ghana and the African Union (AU) Commission.
The Conference is also exploring mechanisms for truth-telling, acknowledgment, reconciliation, and healing both within African societies and in relationships with former colonial powers.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was optimistic the Conference would help develop an action plan for a sustainable reparatory justice process in Africa, considering the historical context, current challenges, and prospects.