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A miner at an artisanal gold mine near Kamituga, Congo, in 2018 (OSV News/Djaffar Al Katanty, Reuters)

As minerals fuel deadly conflicts in Africa, a Congolese cardinal has urged local churches to ensure the continent’s abundant resources contribute to the benefit of its populations instead of hurting them. Source: OSV News.

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa, president of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar, spoke in Accra, Ghana’s capital, where a March 8-10 gathering brought together more than 40 bishops, priests and lay Catholics. They explored the state of Africa’s mineral resource extraction under the theme, “Conflicts in Africa in the Context of the Exploitation of Natural and Mining Resources.”

“The overarching objective is to ensure that Africa’s abundant resources contribute to economic development, benefit the majority of its populace, foster peace, and alleviate poverty,” Cardinal Besungu said.

The Cardinal emphasised “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,” said a March 11 statement from the symposium, known as SECAM.

The conference echoed Pope Francis’ call for respecting African mineral resources that he issued during his African pilgrimage to Congo and South Sudan at the beginning of 2023.

During the visit in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, Pope Francis pleaded: “Hands off Africa!”

“Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!” the Pope said

Cardinal Besungu echoed the Pope’s call, saying that despite significant foreign investments in oil, gas, mining and natural resources, the local populations on the continent did not benefit from them.


Mineral wars are a killer in Africa; cardinal shares his advice (By Fredrick Nzwili, OSV News)