Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, who presided over the Congress’s final Eucharistic celebration on the restoration of the “African educational pact in the spirit of Pope Francis,” urged participants in the continent’s education system to collaborate with one another and to forge ahead with a fresh strategy for education in Africa. The Sainte-Famille Parish in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, hosted the final Mass.
“The African Congress on the Restitution of the African Educational Pact in the spirit of Pope Francis” concluded last Sunday after three days of work at the Catholic University of West Africa – Abidjan University Unit. The closing statement emphasized the need for further action to strengthen and promote investment in African education.
Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, stated, “We are firmly convinced that God is at work in our continent and that Africa cannot become a continent of despair, despite the discouraging news coming from some parts of Africa.” As the president and congress chair of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), he was in Abidjan.
The SECAM President urged African nations to “invest more in the education of our young people, who are not only the future of our societies, but are already present with us,” as he envisioned a “new Africa.”
The Congolese Cardinal suggested creating “an educational alliance that would respond to the new challenges of our African societies” in response to the numerous evils plaguing the continent, such as “corruption, conflict, and poor governance, which are unfortunately mortgaging the future of its youth.” In spite of these difficult times, an alliance made up of “our families, our Small Christian Communities, our lay apostolic associations and Christian movements working in the spirit of synodality and in synergy… would become an educational community that can carve out a path for the future of our African youth.”
Cardinal Ambongo went on, “In order to do this, we have to make a commitment to elevating all the valleys and lowering all the mountains and hills that stand in the way of high-quality education in Africa. The President of SECAM emphasized, “We also need to remove barriers that endanger education and our children’s futures.
At the initiative of the Religions and Societies International Foundation and its partners, Catholic education stakeholders from Africa’s national episcopal conferences, conferences of major religious superiors, and other stakeholders from Northern countries convened in Abidjan for three days to deliberate on implementing the African Education Pact.
At the conclusion of the conference, the participants were more than eager to collaborate in order to reinforce and revitalize the Catholic Church’s role in education, according to Professor Jean-Paul Niyigena, General Secretary of the Foundation and Consultor to the Dicastery for Culture and Education.
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