Ghana’s President to Address Delegates of Planned SECAM Plenary Assembly as Guest of Honor

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to address delegates of Planned SECAM Plenary Assembly as Guest of Honor. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is expected to address Catholic Bishops in Africa as “guest of honor” during the planned Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), scheduled from July 25 to August 1 in Accra, Ghana’s capital city.

At a press briefing held at the National Catholic Secretariat in Accra earlier this week, the Treasurer of SECAM spoke about delegates of the Plenary Assembly, the theme, and the venue, among other aspects relating to the 19th Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops in Africa and Madagascar.

“This press conference was to inform the people of Ghana and the entire world about Ghana hosting the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) under the auspices of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC),” Bishop Gabriel Edoe Kumordji said

Bishop Kumordji added, “The President of Ghana, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to address the participants as the Guest of Honor.”

According to the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Keta Akatsi Diocese, “The Assembly will bring together about one hundred and thirty (130) participants,” including Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, “and representatives of Church Institutions from the continent of Africa”.


“Some officials from the Vatican will be representing Pope Francis, bishops representing Bishops’ Conferences in Europe and the Americas will also be attending,” the Ghanaian Catholic Bishop said during the Monday, July 4 press briefing.

He also spoke about the change of the venue of the Catholic Bishops’ meeting that has been organized under the theme, “Ownership of SECAM: Security and Migration in Africa and its Islands”.

“The SECAM assembly was initially scheduled to take place in Burkina Faso,” Bishop Kumordji said.

However, he explained, “due to the political instability in that country and the non-recognition of the military regime by both the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in that country, the Bishops of Africa found it not expedient to hold their Assembly in that country.”

“This decision was taken only a few months ago during an emergency Standing Committee meeting of SECAM in Accra,” the Treasurer of SECAM said about the weeklong 19th Plenary Assembly that is to be held at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra.

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“It is for this and other reasons that Ghana has accepted to host the Assembly,” Bishop Kumordji told journalists during the July 4 press briefing.

Established in July 1969, SECAM grew out of the desire of Catholic Bishops in Africa during the Second Vatican Council to speak with one voice.

The Symposium has the mission “to promote its role as a sign and instrument of salvation and to build the Church as a Family of God in Africa,” while also preserving and fostering communion and collaboration among its member conferences.

SECAM has eight regional associations, which include the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC), the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa Region (ACERAC), and the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).

Other regional associations include the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE), the Regional Episcopal Conferences of North Africa (CERNA), Madagascar and Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean (CEDOI), and the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).


In the July 4 press conference, Bishop Kumordji said, “There are presently over 600 Catholic Bishops in Africa, of which 28 are Cardinals. Two of these are from Ghana.”

“The Bishops established SECAM’s headquarters here in Accra, Ghana and adopted 3 official languages. English, French and Portuguese,” he added.

According to the member of the Society of the Divine Word, Catholic Bishops in Africa have been speaking out and working “against the growing imbalances between the North and South of the world, as far as the distribution of resources is concerned.”

Catholic Bishops in Uganda hosted the last SECAM Plenary Assembly in Kampala in July 2019, which marked the conclusion of the yearlong Golden Jubilee celebrations of the continental symposium. 

The deliberations of the members of SECAM during their 18th Plenary Assembly in Kampala, Uganda's capital city, were compiled in a 100-page document known as the "Kampala Document" (KD), which was unveiled on 21 January 2021. 

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In the KD, SECAM members invited Christians in Africa and beyond to seek a deeper understanding of Jesus and to guard against “spiritualities of deliverance and prosperity”.

Making reference to  KD, Bishop Kumordji said, “Bishops in Africa pointed out the damage being done to creation, our environment and the political and economic crisis in which we find ourselves with millions of people living in subhuman conditions of life.”

“It is as a result of these and other issues militating against the development of Africa that the plenary to be held this month in Ghana will be focusing more on security and migration in its deliberations,” the Treasurer of SECAM said.

SECAM, the Ghanaian Bishop continued, “seeks to bring the voice of the Catholic Church on issues of good governance, sustainable development and to promote servant leadership across the continent and the islands.”

“As a way of getting a wider platform for this objective, SECAM has since 2015 maintained an observer status at the African Union (AU),” the 66-year-old Bishop said, and added, “The AU is an important platform for bringing issues concerning the Church to the attention of African governments, organizations and the entire world.”

“Situations of conflict, migration disease, or even bad governance which infringe on human dignity, no longer have to remain the concern of only those who are affected on the continent,” Bishop Kumordji said.

The 19th SECAM plenary Assembly that is to officially conclude with Holy Mass at Holy Spirit Cathedral of Accra Archdiocese on July 31 will have a “Communique or a Message that will be presented by the new President of SECAM who would have been elected a day before the closing ceremony,” the Treasurer of SECAM said.

He noted that “even though the participation is limited to official delegates, arrangements could be made for media interactions or interviews with the Cardinals and Bishops through the Communications Subcommittee of the Local Planning Committee of the Assembly at GIMPA.”

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.