Deliberation on bioethical issues of global relevance requires a rich framework that resonates with people from different regions of the world in order to be effective and to avoid falling into forms of cultural imperialism. Drawing from extant African philosophical reflections on the descriptive and normative concepts of personhood, I tease out an African notion of subject and object moral status. This distinction which is embedded in a relational and communal notion of the human person, influences the African way of conceptualizing and addressing bioethical issues. This perspective highlights the need to promote subject moral agency and not only the duties owed to persons. In doing this my goal is to offer a clearer conceptual framework for Africans to understand themselves and for non-Africans who engage in dialogue on global ethical issues within the African context. This perspective can also contribute to enrich the global conversation.