Pope Francis’ “Hands Off Africa”, a new book released early this week, asks Western powers to stop seeing Africa as a land to be “plundered” but should allow it to be the protagonist of its own destiny.
Prime Business Africa (PBA) reports the book contains reflections on Pope Francis’ visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) early this year where he made far-reaching statements relating to the exploitation of Africa and its resources by the West. DRC is rich in natural resources but has a weak governance and institutions to harness its natural wealth, a situation exploited by immigrants and Western nations with little or no accountability.
“Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be exploited. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!” were the words of the Catholic Pontiff when he visited DRC early in the year.
Joseph Tulloc, a graduate fellow with the Vatican News, reports that “Hands Off Africa”, which is written in Italian, has hit book stores in Europe after the Vatican Publishing House announced its release on Wednesday.
Specifically, the book is a collection of all speeches made by Pope Francis during his visit to DRC and South Sudan immediately afterwards.
“Hands Off Africa” does not however contain only the voice of Pope Francis but adds those of those he met during his visit in DRC and South Sudan – two countries torn by vicious conflict. Pope Francis had listened to the testimonies of war victims, and other stories too, which are now included in the volume.
Prime Business Africa reports that the preface of the Pope’s new book is written by Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Adichie, who described the book as a small silver of hope for Congo.
According to Chimamanda Adichie, Hands Off Africa “brings me a small silver of hope for Congo, and for the beloved and broken-hearted continent that I call home.”
READ ALSO: Chimamanda Adichie Writes, As Pope Francis’ New Book Hits Stores
Chimamada Adichie, an award winning author, has been in the forefront of campaigns for Africa reparation as well as return of artefacts illegally confiscated by colonial countries.
READ ALSO:Return What You Stole From Africa, Chimamanda Adichie Tells Europe
Pope Francis’ Pilgrimage of Peace In DRC, South Sudan
Pope Francis had visited the DRC and South Sudan from 31st January to the 5th February of this year, in a week-long visit he referred to as a “Pilgrimage of Peace.” It was to promote reconciliation in conflict-ridden countries and their independence from foreign interference.
In the DRC, the Pope met with government officials , bishops and young people and said that “political colonialism” had given way to “economic colonialism” describing it as “equally enslaving.”
While in South Sudan, Pope Francis addressed feuding politicians whose conflict has devastated the country and stressed that “Now is the time to say: No more of this!”
Silence of the World On DRC
Chimamanda Adichie in her preface of the Pope’s new book focused on his trip to DRC and described it as “a country whose resources have long been exploited, a country desperate to be made whole again.”
She says the greatest tragedy of the situation is “not the internecine conflicts but the silence of the world,” which “speaks to the continuing devaluing of African humanity by a world that nevertheless eagerly consumes African resources.”
Chimamanda Adichie, therefore, sees the Pope Francis’ visit to the DRC and his “potent” messages there as “a necessary rebuke” to wealthy nations. She argues that his message “is not merely that Congo – and, by extension, Africa – matters but that it matters for one reason only. Not for its resources, which the global North depends on, not for fear that the continent could become again the scene of Western proxy battles as happened during the Cold War, but simply because of the people . Africa matters because Africans matter.”
‘Hands Off Africa’ is expected to rake in billions of dollars in sales as new book hit book stores across in the world.