Spain is one of the countries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is neither the only one nor the one that is suffering the most. A communiqué from the Network of Organizations for Solidarity Development (REDES), which has been joined by other ecclesial entities, invites us to come out of our self-absorption, raise our heads and discover what is happening in Africa.
On June 12, the continent counted 6,000 deaths and 220,000 people infected with VDOC. In terms of health, it is not the most affected continent, but its socio-economic consequences are devastating. At the beginning of 2020, 7 of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world were in Africa and yet, according to the World Bank, the continent could end the year in recession for the first time since the 1990s.
The pandemic and, above all, the measures taken by the countries themselves to stop it have weakened already fragile economies and jeopardized efforts to reduce poverty. Unemployment is on the rise, basic necessities are becoming more expensive and trade is suffering in a continent heavily dependent on raw material exports. To make matters worse, health systems confronted with high-incidence diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis are having to combat the coronavirus with scarce medical supplies and hygiene items. All this leads to increased social exclusion, destitution and hunger.
REDES tells us that it is time to increase collaboration with African countries, it is the opportunity to rethink a system that exacerbates inequality between and within countries, degrades the environment and endangers our present and future sustainability as humanity. And to present alternatives inspired by the Pope.
Mere assistance will not solve anything, creative solutions are needed, the cessation of armed conflicts, the introduction of a universal salary and the immediate condemnation of the foreign debt of highly indebted African countries. This is a perfectly acceptable and fair measure, because Africa has paid any debt to the rest of the world a thousand times over in the course of its history.
Everything is interrelated, Francis repeats, let us get rid of the illusion of being able to be well while Africa suffers. To help Africa is to help ourselves.
Director of Mundo Negro