After recovering from COVID-19, Burkina Faso cardinal calls for debt relief for continent
Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, who is now recovered after contracting the coronavirus, has issued a statement insisting that the pandemic is not a punishment from God, and appealing for debt forgiveness to help cushion Africa from the economic devastation of the pandemic. In his country, Burkina Faso, Christian communities have been forced to live under threat of Jihadist terrorism in recent years.
Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Ouédraogo, 75, was tested for the coronavirus March 28 after experiencing severe symptoms and got the positive result two days later. A spokesman from SECAM told Crux that Ouédraogo is currently “quite well and has been working,” but they could not confirm whether he has completely recovered from the virus.
In his May 31 statement, Ouédraogo asked bilateral and multilateral aid agencies to “take a closer look” at Africa, which he said lacks sufficient resources and safety kits to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Undoubtedly, initiatives have already been taken in the management of the impact of the pandemic, but we would like to go further to plead for the massive cancellation of debts of African countries, to enable them to revive their economies,” he said.
He also asked that “substantial aid” also be given to African nations to assure food security and to assist in the development of quality healthcare systems and the promotion of small and medium enterprises, with the aim of easing rising unemployment rates.
In his statement, Ouédraogo also issued an appeal for multinational companies and business owners who import raw materials from African nations to “make significant contributions to the host countries to enable them provide basic social services,” such as hospitals, schools, and affordable housing.
In recent years in Burkina Faso, Jihadist violence targeting Christians has significantly intensified. Dozens of people have lost their lives in religiously motivated terrorist attacks.