AFRICA - China-Africa Summit: where is the Church, "expert in humanity"?

Friday, 7 September 2018 politics   international politics   economy   society   local churches  


Lome (Agenzia Fides) - "The massive participation of African heads of State at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (Focac) is impressive: it is a real record. The fate of millions of Africans is sealed by political and economic partnerships of all kinds": this is what Father Donald Zagore, Ivorian theologian of the Society of African Missions, tells Agenzia Fides. Trade, technology, media, diplomacy, agriculture, culture and interpersonal exchanges are among the sectors examined for cooperation during the Summit on the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (Focac), which sees 52 African Countries, the Commission of African Union and the People's Republic of China as partners. Aid, investment and loans to African Countries for $ 60 billion were announced in Beijing by President Xi Jinping, at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. The announcement was made in front of the delegations and managers of 53 African countries. On 4 September, the Forum ended with the publication of two documents that summarize the results achieved: the "Beijing Declaration" and the "Beijing Action Plan", which illustrate the desire to increase the quality and efficiency of the bilateral cooperation
"It must be said that the Church is absent from this international event", the priest continues, commenting on the event. "Where is the Church of Africa? Who will be his spokesperson in this crucial meeting for the Continent? Why does it not participate in such debates concerning the life of its population? Is its vocation as 'expert in humanity' limited to only the four walls of churches? With its absence, it proves that men like Wayne S. Peterson are right, when he argues that those in whom Christ is embodied today, those who enjoy the wisdom of God, are no longer among the men of the Church, but among the leaders of the political and economic world, to whom God explains his plans for world reform", says Father Zagore.
"The division of political and religious powers should in no way be a pretext for the radical exclusion of the religious, particularly when it comes to making decisions about the fate of the people. The prophetic voice of the Church is important to be heard", insists Fr. Donald.
"In Africa, the Church, through social projects in the fields of education, health, water, the environment, commitment to the weak, the poor, actively participates in improving the social conditions of the population. It is sad and surprising to see the church absent from a Forum of this magnitude", concludes the priest.
The last FOCAC summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2015, co-chaired by President Xi Jinping and Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa. (DZ/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 7/9/2018)