DRC: “Hands Off Africa!” Pope Cautions Against Continuous Exploitation of Continent


By Arnold Neliba

KINSHASA, FEBRUARY 3, 2023 (CISA)– “This is terrible! Political exploitation gave way to an “economic colonialism” that was equally enslaving. As a result, this country, massively plundered, has not benefited adequately from its immense resources: paradoxically, the riches of its land have made it “foreign” to its very inhabitants. The poison of greed has smeared its diamonds with blood. This is a tragedy to which the economically more advanced world often closes its eyes, ears and mouth,” the pope said in a meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi, members of government, the diplomatic corps and civil authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo on January 31.

“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny! May the world acknowledge the catastrophic things that were done over the centuries to the detriment of the local peoples, and not forget this country and this continent. May Africa, the smile and hope of the world, count for more. May it be spoken of more frequently, and have greater weight and prestige among the nations!” he added as he spoke against the exploitation of Africa.

While calling on authentically human diplomacy, the pope criticized diplomacy centred on control over land, resources and increased profits. In the case of DRC, he lamented the silence by the international community on the violence in the country.

“We cannot grow accustomed to the bloodshed that has marked this country for decades, causing millions of deaths that remain mostly unknown elsewhere. What is happening here needs to be known. The current peace processes, which I greatly encourage, need to be sustained by concrete deeds, and commitments should be maintained,” he stressed.

The pontiff described DRC as a “host to one of the green lungs of the world, which must be preserved”.

DRC is one of the richest countries in terms of mineral wealth in the world. The country hosts major deposits of diamond, gold, copper, cobalt, tin, tantalum and lithium.