, 06 May, 2020 / 6:05 AM
Senegal’s President Macky Sall has recounted his discussion with Pope Francis at the beginning of this week, terming it as “constructive” and mutually enriching.
“I had a constructive conversation with His Holiness Pope Francis on Monday. I welcome our convergence of views on the cancellation of debt and his response to the pandemic through his call for the universality of prayer, fraternity, and solidarity,” President Sall Tweeted Monday, May 4, referencing Pope Francis’ response to COVID-19 crisis.
While giving his traditional Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis challenged the nations of the world to put an end to indifference, self-centeredness, division, and forgetfulness and instead, spread hope.
In his message, the Holy Father also called for the relaxation of international sanctions and appealed for “the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations.”
President Sall stated that Pope Francis’ appeal for unity in the fight against the new coronavirus is because “conflicts in the world and the crisis linked to COVID-19 shows how much we must remain mobilized so that the human being and humanity are at the heart of priorities at the national and global levels.”
The Head of State of the predominantly Muslim West African nation further stated that his country “will always be at the side of his Holiness in the promotion of interreligious dialogue for a world of peace and human brotherhood.”
He disclosed, in his May 4 Tweet, that he invited Pope Francis to Senegal to grace the World Water Forum slated to take place in 2021.
“Twenty-eight years after Pope John Paul II's visit to Dakar, I renewed my invitation to his Holiness to pay an official visit to Senegal,” the 58-year-old Senegalese leader revealed and expressed his appreciation for “the positive response to the invitation for the Vatican to participate in the World Water Forum.”
In March 2021, Senegal will play host to the 9th World Water Forum, an event that brings together leaders every three years to discuss the importance of water in the political agenda and to seek solutions towards international water issues.
Pope John Paul II was the first Pontiff to visit the West African country in 1992. According to the Los Angeles Times, his tour of the nation was a “pilgrimage aimed at strengthening Roman Catholic relations with the Islamic world.”
Christians being a minority with Muslims accounting for 95 percent of the population, Senegal prides in religious tolerance.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa