Africa’s Catholic bishops have called on donor countries and agencies to exercise solidarity with the continent – including cancelling debt – as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit hard.
In its 31st May statement, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar also urged the African Union to sensitise its member countries to contribute to the creation of a solidarity fund, which the bishops stressed will be used to improve the health of the people.
In their statement, signed by the Burkina Faso Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, SECAM president, the bishops urged African leaders to ensure that ‘the limited available resources be used to assist those who really need help, especially the poorest of the poor, and not end in the pockets of the politically connected people through corrupt practices’.
Acknowledging the initiatives already taken by international aid agencies in the management of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the bishops asked them to take a closer look at the continent, which currently lacks resources in the fight against the pandemic. ‘We would like to go further to plead for the massive cancellation of debts of African countries, to enable them to revive their economies,’ the bishops said.
They also called on multinational businesses that rely on raw materials from Africa to make significant contributions to the host countries to enable them to provide basic social services such as hospitals, schools, adequate and affordable housing.
Picture: A businesswoman wearing a protective mask is seen through the window of her mud-walled home in Nairobi, Kenya, on 25th May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa’s Catholic bishops have called on the donor countries and agencies to exercise solidarity with the continent, including cancelling debt, as the pandemic continues to hit hard. (CNS photo/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters).