KINSHASA, Congo (CNS) — Foreign companies working in mineral-rich Congo ought to contribute part of their profits to local development programs, said an official of the country’s Catholic bishops’ conference.
Msgr. Donatien Nshole, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, said in a presentation Aug. 16 in Kinshasa that the country’s economy “rests on exploitation of natural resources,” but that the Congolese people have seen few benefits from the extractive industry.
“Instead of contributing to our country’s development and benefitting our people, however, our mineral, petrol and forest resources have become the cause of our misfortune,” he said in discussing reports on the African country’s mining, agricultural and environmental sectors commissioned the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Commission for Natural Resources.
“Our fellow-citizens find themselves stripped of their lands, without any reward or compensation, through concessions and sales made to this or that mine or forest exploiter,” he added.
The reports called for companies to pay between 3.5% and 10% into a new community development fund for reinvestment in roads, wells, schools, hospitals and infrastructural projects to benefit local inhabitants.
The United Nations has confirmed that Congo’s armed conflicts mostly qualified as “economic, predatorial wars,” but that the foreign companies involved in exploiting the country’s resources had signed contacts or made purchases from Congolese politicians and intermediaries.
“Since it’s also Congolese who manage these sectors, we should also ask ourselves who shares the responsibility, especially (since) it’s generally held that the exploitation of natural resources, especially in mining, brings no profit to our population,” said Msgr. Nshole, whose remarks were carried on the bishops’ conference website.
Catholic leaders for years have criticized the exploitation of resources in Congo, where 4.5 million people have been displaced by conflict and a fifth of the population needs basic assistance, according to U.N. statistics.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: