Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is without doubt is having devastating effects with tragic consequences for the poorest populations", say the African Bishops in a SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) statement sent to Agenzia Fides. The document underlines that "recession is evident due to the shutdown of activities, especially in key production sectors, in the tourism sector, air transport and the hotel industry". The Bishops fear "a social explosion in many countries, and in particular, in Africa that is already burdened with debt and where unemployment continues to worsen, which further increases even more the phenomenon of impoverishment of the populations".
SECAM calls on large multinational companies in Africa to do their part to help the countries of the continent in this dramatic moment. "Africa is a major supplier of raw materials to industrialized countries. Therefore, we call upon large companies which exploit these raw materials to make significant contributions to the host countries to enable them provide basic social services such as hospitals, schools, adequate and affordable housing", says the statement.
The African Bishops in addition stress: "since a race against the clock is currently engaged in developed countries to find an effective remedy for COVID-19, we call on the business community and the pharmaceutical companies not to exploit the situation to make profit but join in the efforts to provide care for vulnerable people".
SECAM calls on the African Union to transform the health crisis caused by COVID-19 into an opportunity "to seek ways and means together to eradicate diseases like malaria and Tuberculosis, which continue to plague the continent". "We call upon the African Union - the Bishops write - to sensitize member Countries to contribute to the creation of a Solidarity Fund, which will be used to improve the health of the populations".
SECAM further urges "African leaders to ensure that the limited available resources be used to assist those who really need help, especially, the poorest of the poor and do not end in the pockets of the politically connected people through corrupt practices". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/6/2020)