Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, the Vatican head Pope Francis said.
The religious leader described Africa’s relations with the rest of the world as an “injustice” and criticised people complaining about the influx of African migrants travelling to Europe.
The octogenarian Pontifex told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.
“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it. When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people [outside Africa] complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!”
Touching on the reasons for hunger in Africa, the pope said that:
“In our collective unconscious, there is something inside us that says Africa must be exploited.”
His comments follow moves in some African countries to win more generous terms from international mining companies.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the government has enacted a new mining code that is designed to earn extra money for the state from copper, cobalt and gold produced there.
Mining companies say the government should reconsider the law in order to respect exemptions that were granted by its predecessor.
The pope said Europe needed to focus on education and investment in Africa if it wanted to stem the flow of migrants, which is also an increasingly divisive issue in Italy, where the new governing coalition is taking a hard line.
“And there’s a problem,” he added. “We send people back to those who have sent them here. They end up in the jails of traffickers.”
The pope then showed Reuters graphic photographs he said showed victims of human trafficking who had been tortured and killed in an unspecified location in Africa.
Hallelujah Magazine is committed to publishing reliable, trusted, quality and independent Christian journalism. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and is not influenced by wealthy people, politicians, clerics or shareholders. We value our readers’ feedback, suggestions and opinions. Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.