The Bishops of West Africa met in February to urge African governments to promote and pursue global, legal strategies to regulate international corporations in Africa.
“On our part, we instruct the Justices and Peace Commissions of all our dioceses to redouble efforts and innovations in care, protection, and support of the victims of the harmful effects of land grabbing and forced expropriation of land. In addition, we also undertake to do intense advocacy work with all national and international bodies so that strong frameworks and mechanisms can be put in place to correct any injustice and anomaly,” the Bishops affirm.
Land-grabbing has been a justice issue in the area recently due to increased pressure from mines and agribusiness. Some are calling this a new scramble for Africa.
According to the Vatican News Service, African governments have sometimes offered large tracts of land for foreign investment with little or no consultation of rural communities. Some communities have been forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. In some cases, valuable trees or pristine land reserves are destroyed with the knowledge of some government officials. In many cases, for the locals, the touted benefits of technology transfer and increased employment do not materialize at all. Sometimes entire communities are further impoverished.
Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, and Togo are all preparing for elections in 2020. The bishops urged that elections be fair and violence-free, and that the results be accepted by all. Read more.