29th March 2023
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Pope tells foreign actors to stop plundering DRC

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Democratic Republic of the Congo's President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (right) applauds as Pope Francis delivers a speech in the garden of the Palace of the Nation during the meeting of the authorities, the civil society and the diplomatic corps in Gombe, Kinshasa on January 31, 2023. (Photo: AFP).

Pope Francis has condemned “economic colonialism” and greed for mineral resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo in his first speech in Kinshasa, saying foreign powers competing for resources are to blame for the decades of conflict.

The pontiff arrive in DRC capital on Tuesday and was received by a massive crowd of young people who had been standing by roadsides to experience the moment that has taken four decades.

Speaking to politicians and dignitaries at the presidential palace, Pope Francis, 86, received applause as he narrated the country’s “history of foreign domination.”

The Agence France-Presse quotes him as saying that “political exploitation gave way to an economic colonialism that was equally enslaving” in the DRC.

“As a result, this country, massively plundered, has not benefited adequately from its immense resources,” he told an audience of Congolese politicians and other dignitaries, speaking in Italian.

“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hands off Africa,” he said. “It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered”.

The DRC, a country of 100 million people, gained independence from Belgium in 1960. But despite its vast reserves of minerals, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

According to the World Bank, about two-thirds of the population lives on less than $2.15 a day.


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