Church in Africa denounces the exploitation of mineral and natural resources

Church in Africa denounces the exploitation of mineral and natural resources

The Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) convened a pivotal seminar addressing the theme of "Conflicts in Africa in the Context of the Exploitation of Natural and Mining Resources" in Accra, Ghana.

The event, held from March 8 to 10, 2024, gathered approximately forty participants, including bishops, priests and lay Catholics, to reflect on the critical link between the exploitation of natural resources and conflicts on the African continent.  

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, a key partner of this seminar, urged the Church in Africa to strengthen its commitment to address issues that perpetuate immense suffering, such as conflict and forced displacement of populations.

Participants from different regions of Africa and beyond identified key challenges associated with the exploitation of the continent’s mineral and natural resources. It was noted that significant foreign investments in oil, gas, mines, and natural resources do not adequately benefit the continent’s local populations. Indeed, Pope Francis, during his apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in 2023, implored: "Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be exploited or a terrain to be plundered."

The symposium was also an opportunity to discuss strategies for future endeavors aimed at addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with conflicts and their ramifications stemming from the exploitation of natural resources.

For his part, the Archbishop of Kinshasa and President of SECAM, Card. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, estressed the urgent need for the Church in Africa to adopt a pastoral approach to integral ecology and ecological conversion informed by its social doctrine, particularly in relation to extractive industries. He also emphasized the overall goal of ensuring that Africa's abundant resources contribute to economic development, benefit most of its population, foster peace, and alleviate poverty.

15 March 2024