Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Pope in the Congo - A “pilgrimage of peace”?

 Pope Francis has described “economic colonialism” in Africa, denouncing the “poison of greed” for mineral resources, condemning “terrible forms of exploitation, unworthy of humanity” in Congo, where vast mineral wealth has fuelled war, displacement and hunger, as he began a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Political exploitation gave way to an economic colonialism that was equally enslaving,” he said. “As a result, this country, massively plundered, has not benefited adequately from its immense resources,” he told an audience of Congolese politicians and other dignitaries. “It is a tragedy that these lands, and more generally the whole African continent, continue to endure various forms of exploitation,” he said. “The poison of greed has smeared its diamonds with blood,” he said, referring to Congo specifically.

The pope criticised rich countries for closing their eyes and ears to the tragedies unfolding in Congo and elsewhere in Africa. “One has the impression that the international community has practically resigned itself to the violence devouring it [Congo]. We cannot grow accustomed to the bloodshed that has marked this country for decades, causing millions of deaths,” 

“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” he said.

Despite its vast reserves of minerals, timber and freshwater, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world. About two-thirds of the population lives on less than $2.15 a day. An estimated 5.7 million people are internally displaced in Congo and 26 million face severe hunger.

Pope Francis condemns ‘economic colonialism’ in Africa on visit to DRC | Pope Francis | The Guardian

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