Ivorian Catholic Institute Challenged to Help Achieve “people who think well of Africa”

Credit: Catholic University Institute of Abidjan (ICMA)

The leadership of the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan (ICMA), a philosophical and theological training institution of higher learning in Ivory Coast, has been challenged to help fill the gap of Africans, who think well of their continent.

The Provincial of the Society of African Missions (SMA) in Ghana, who doubles as the President of the Major Superiors Conference of West Africa (MSCWA) made the challenge on Monday, September 11, in his inaugural lecture during the opening of the new academic year and the launch of the 20th anniversary of ICMA.

Fr. Paul Saa-Dade Ennin said, “The resource that Africa lacks is human resources – people who think well of Africa, who think of the dignity of the African.”

The continent, Fr. Ennin added, stands in need of Africans “who think to find solutions to Africa's problems, people of integrity, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs, sociologists, anthropologists, theologians, philosophers etc. fully trained and capable of using Africa's natural resources for the good of Africa and the fulfillment of its sons and daughters.”

“ICMA, 20 years after its establishment, must open its doors to a wider world in order to train the actors of a new world in other professional fields,” he said, and added, “Africa needs new leaders, and ICMA can play a part in this. To do this, ICMA must forge for itself a unique brand that responds to the current challenges and needs of the Church and African society.”


The SMA Provincial Superior in Ghana emphasized the need for the Ivorian Catholic institution of higher learning to contribute to Africa’s “sustainable development” or risk becoming irrelevant. 

“ICMA must contribute to filling the gap in human resources that is holding back the real and sustainable development of Africa or risk disappearing in the near future like other institutes elsewhere,” Fr. Ennin warned.

He continued, “ICMA must take on the mission of contributing to the transformation of our African societies by training young people who want more than jobs and careers; those who want meaningful work.”

“We use the term life-saving to describe things that have lasting value. Mediating between today's cultural matrix and the role of an institute like ICMA within it requires a salvific sensibility that should remain the highest goal,” the SMA Provincial Superior in Ghana who was elected MSCWA President during the 11th General Assembly of the regional entity that was held in Cotonou, Benin, from February 10-12 for a three-year mandate said.

He noted that “today, African society is in the midst of a leadership crisis at every level." 

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“The recent coups d'état show the seriousness of the problem; these coups d'état are symptoms of a civil society that is trampled underfoot, voiceless and without leadership; unable to claim their rights or hold their leaders to account, crying help to a distant savior when others are plundering the country,” Fr. Ennin said in his homily to mark the start of the new ICMA academic year.

He went on to challenge ICMA leadership to have a people-oriented approach, saying, “In an educational establishment, as in our religious communities, we run the risk of forgetting the individual and concentrating on the mass or the community; yet the individual, the person, comes before the crowd.”

“The development of the individual contributes to the good of the community. Leave no one behind,” Fr. Ennin emphasized.  

Founded in September 2004, ICMA welcomes students from various Religious Congregations in Africa. 

The Institute of higher learning aims to be a place of formation for witnesses to the Gospel, committed to the renewal of the African continent and offers philosophical and theological training rooted in the doctrine of the Church.


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.