, 04 October, 2019 / 2:54 AM
The appointment of the Apostolic Nuncio in Malawi and Zambia to represent the Vatican at the free trade area consisting twenty-one member states within Eastern and Southern Africa has been interpreted as the Holy See’s commitment to the affairs of the African continent, the Nuncio, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone has explained.
“My appointment as special representative to this organization is an expression of the continued good relationship between the Holy See and COMESA as we share in the goal of contributing to strengthening peace and common good for Africa’s people,” Archbishop Gallone said in reference to his appointment to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Holy See’s commitment to Africa is clearly visible through the numerous statements of the Holy Father Pope Francis and his several pastoral visits to the continent,” the Italian-born Nuncio emphasized when he was presenting his appointment letter to the bloc’s Secretary General in Lusaka, Zambia.
The Nuncio appreciated the work of COMESA in the region saying it has created “a global space for improving the living standards of many people” through its initiatives and programs.
The policies implemented by COMESA, he said, “are proving effective in many regions for combating absolute poverty and promoting social justice.”
COMESA is a trade bloc that was established in 1994. It comprises of Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Kingdom of Eswatini, Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While addressing the Secretary General of COMESA, the Nuncio expressed the desire for further collaboration between COMESA and the Vatican.
“Your Excellency, may our relationship that of the Holy See and COMESA continue to evolve along these premises of dialogue and mutual respect,” concluded the Nuncio.
Acknowledging the Nuncio’s appointment, COMESA’s Secretary General, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, reiterated that cooperation between the Church and the bloc will be strengthened through the appointment.
“I am confident that your new responsibility and your mandate will contribute to the cooperation between the Catholic Church and COMESA,” she said.
COMESA is headquartered in Zambia's capital, Lusaka.
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