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Europe-Africa: statement from Comece and Secam about Abidjan summit. Economy, “brain drain, migration, freedom of religion

(Brussels) There’s a need for “public policies to make private investment thrive” and for “plans for big infrastructure” to be coordinated; there’s a need for “justice and equality in the trade of goods and services” and above all in natural resources; “new local businesses and sustainable development of farming” to curb Africa’s “brain drain”. This was written by card. Reinhard Marx, president of Comece, and by archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi, president of the African episcopal organisation Secam, in a long statement in the run-up to the summit. Speaking of migration, the Bishops Conferences ask for the summit to make “a strong joint statement about migration” and to make efforts “to fight human trafficking”. The EU is asked to “work harder in sustainable development plans”. What is also worrying is “European and African young people’s mistrust in political and private institutions”: “transparency and accountability” are prerequisites for democratic participation. The African and European Bishops, also joined by the Christian heritage that both continents carry, “acknowledge their responsibility for interreligious dialogue” and reiterate that “freedom of religion is a fundamental right and a basic principle of politics”. Lastly, in the run-up to the next EU-AU summits, they propose to open a dialogue between political leaders and religious leaders.

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