African churches denounce greed, over-production and over-consumption

By staff writers
November 16, 2007

A severe reminder "of the wealth that was built and sustained on the continued extraction and plunder of Africa's resources as well as on the exploitation of Africa's people" has been addressed to Christians in the global North by the participants in the African ecumenical consultation "Linking poverty, wealth and ecology".

At the 5-9 November 2007 gathering in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, some fifty women and men of faith from Africa and beyond - youth, activists, theologians and church leaders - worked on ecumenical strategies and actions for addressing the interlinked problems of poverty, excessive wealth, and ecological degradation.

Structures of domination and exploitation based on class, gender, or ethnicity are sinful, they declared, citing the woeful heritage of slavery and colonialism alongside negative consequences of neoliberal globalization.

"Neoliberal trade policies and patent systems that force Africa to produce cash crops for export" and bar poor people from access to medicine and healthcare, as well as reduced chances for young people in privatized educational systems are concrete grievances named in the final statement. It also denounces "desperate economic conditions produced by systemic trade deficits, external indebtedness and structural adjustment" that abet ecological destruction, insecure labour, human trafficking and violent conflict over resources.

The Dar es Salaam gathering was the first of five regional church encounters to be held by the members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) on different continents during the next six years. The regional consultations, and the study process they feed into, continue a WCC project that became known as Alternative Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE).

Full text of the final statement by the Dar es Salaam consultation:

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