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Religious Missionaries in Africa, Europe Want “just, inclusive post COVID-19 recovery”

Logo Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN).

Religious men and women with presence in Africa and Europe have, in a collective statement, expressed the need for a recovery plan that goes beyond food security, debt cancellation, and dialogue around capital investments.

“We call for a global post COVID-19 just recovery that will be inclusive but not limited to the sustainable food system, cancellation of Africa’s debt burden and just energy transitions in the ongoing trade and investment negotiations between the EU and the Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS),” said members of the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN).

“At this time of Covid-19 pandemic, we have not just widely and vividly experienced our interconnectedness and vulnerability but the pandemic has further exposed the fault-lines of our economic system, unsettled every dimension of life and left the future most unpredictable for Africa,” the members say in their collective communique signed by AEFJN President, André Classens, a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC).

Drawn from 50 Religious Congregations and Societies of Apostolic Life present in Africa and Europe, AEFJN members say that though “the pandemic is yet to reach its peak in Africa, the disproportionate imminent consequences and predictions keep the world on the edge.”

“The COVID-19, among its side effects, has triggered a dramatic recessive push on the African economy,” the Religious Missionaries say and add, “The collapse of tourism and exports as a result of the closure of borders, the volatility on the international financial markets of the price of commodities, oil first and foremost, have brought the African national economies to their knees.” 

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They quoted the World Bank’s prediction on the impact of COVID-19 in Africa, “There are forecasts of a contraction in Africa’s agricultural production of between 2.6% and 7% following, above all, the trade blockages and the plague of locusts that are infesting many countries, especially on the eastern side of the continent.”

Africa has recorded at least 349,203 cases of COVID-19 including 9,081 deaths and 168,074 recoveries, worldometers has reported

In their Wednesday, June 24 statement, AEFJN members also call on African and European leaders “to support the ongoing discussion on UN Treaty for the regulation of Trans-national Corporations” because the treaty “is the most concrete and practical way of facilitating Africa’s just recovery from the ashes of the pandemic.” 

Amid the challenges occasioned by the pandemic, the religious men and women note that “the global community has demonstrated that it has the capacity to act and live differently” and underscore the need for the global society to foster solidarity.  

“It is now an opportunity to translate those beautiful traits into a permanent resolve and solidarity to cope with larger and longer-term threats,” AEFJN members say.  

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They advocate for love, creativity and bravery saying, “We must courageously think outside the box and embrace the path that leads to a civilization of love. The opportunity to venture out on new paths and propose innovative solutions to global problems that promote our shared humanity must not be lost.”