N’Djamena (Fides Service)- Catholic Bishops in Central Africa say that oil revenue must go to the people of Africa. The Justice and Peace Commission of ACERAC Association of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences has organised a Seminar on the drilling industry in Africa, which will be held in Chad in November. The Bishops say Central African countries are rich in oil and other resources but their peoples are still among the poorest in the world. The Bishops call on oil companies, governments and international economic institutions as well as Churches in Western nations to help implement a policy of transparent management of resources in Central Africa. Very often oil and other resources are exploited without any ecological considerations. The ones who suffer are always the local people whose crops are polluted by oil and other chemical substances.
During a meeting in July 2003, in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, ACERAC members denounced degradation of living conditions in their countries, affirming that “community harmony is threatened by rising prices of first necessities, protests for low wages, diffusion of prostitution and AIDS”.
The Conferences which are ACERAC members are Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, all oil producing countries. The latest in order is Chad which began exporting oil in recent weeks through a pipeline 1.5 km long. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 31/12/2003 lines 24 words 271)