Synodal Process Can Help Address Challenges in Africa, African Union Official Says

Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa. Credit: ACI Africa

The Synodal process has the potential to bring about solutions to “the various challenges of the African continent”, an official of the African Union (AU) has told delegates of the ongoing Plenary Assembly under the auspices of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

In his speech during the opening ceremony of the March 1-6 SECAM Plenary Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday, March 2, the Deputy Chairperson (DCP) of the AU Commission (AUC) lauded the leadership of the Church in Africa for fostering proximity among people on the continent.

The Synodal process has the potential “to contribute to addressing the various challenges of the African continent,” Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa said.

Dr. Nsanzabaganwa added, “We are all aware of these challenges that our continent is facing today, challenges threatening peace and security on our continent, poverty, inequality, climate change, to mention just a few.”

“These challenges require collective efforts to find sustainable solutions that benefit all members of the society,” she further said, and added, “Synodality therefore provides a framework for engaging in dialogue and cooperation, ensuring that all voices are heard while promoting inclusivity and participation.”


The Synodal process, the Rwandan Diplomat went on to say, “can complement” efforts undertaken by the AU in, for instance, “fostering greater unity and cooperation among different groups and communities,” the AU official said.

“We believe that creativity (and) participation in dialogue are some of the critical values that can help us overcome the challenges we in Africa face today. And by embracing these values, we can work together to build a better future for our continent,” she added. 

The six-day Plenary Assembly of SECAM that kicked off Wednesday, March 1 has brought together delegates of the Continental Synodal Assembly that is expected to prepare the draft of the African Synod Document.

In her March 2 speech, the AU official said the Synodal process is an opportunity for the Church in Africa “to devise means and ways to move the house, the brains and the minds, and also the arms of the people on the continent, to work together to own our destiny and to welcome one another as we promote trade on the continent.”

The Synodal process, she said, “can contribute to fostering greater understanding, cooperation and unity on our continent.”

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The diplomat who is responsible for AUC’s Administration and Finance described the Synodal process as “an essential principle of the Catholic Church” and that “its relevance extends beyond religious institutions.” 

“Synodality emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and dialogue in decision making processes,” the holder of a Ph.D. in economics, who is the first woman to hold the position of DCP of the AUC reiterated the commitment of the continental entity she serves “to supporting initiatives … that contribute to the well-being and development of our continent.”

Dr. Nsanzabaganwa added, “The African Union will continue to work for the benefit of all to provide a peaceful, safe and secure continent where we can all live in peace and harmony.”

In her March 2 address, the DCP who was elected by the 34th AU Assembly that took place on 6 February 2021 for a four-year term renewable once thanked SECAM members “for their efforts and commitment to promoting solidarity in Africa.”

“I hope that this event will be a success and will have a positive impact on our continent as we operationalize this participation in the mission. May peace prevail on Earth,” the AU official said.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.