Land and Water ( Proposition 30 )
Since large stretches of fertile land and water resources are unscrupulously exploited by foreign and local investors in many African countries, causing the displacement and dispossession of poor persons and their communities, who are often powerless to oppose this "assault", this Synod urgently calls upon all governments to ensure that its citizens are protected from the unjust alienation of their land and access to water, which are essential goods of the human person.

The Synod Fathers urge that:

  • The Church in Africa seek information and learn about land and water issues in local churches in order to educate the People of God and enable them to challenge unjust decisions in these matters;
  • all negotiations on land deals be conducted in full transparency and with the participation of the local communities who may be affected;
  • and alienation deals should not be contracted out nor signed without the free, prior and informed consent of the local communities concerned, nor should people forfeit their land without proper compensation;
  • agricultural workers be guaranteed a fair wage in light of the fact that investments promote the creation of employment;
  • promote the professional formation of youth in farming and the raising of animals as a way to stem the uncontrolled flight from the village to the cities;
  • the models of agricultural production respect the environment and not contribute to climate change, soil depletion and the exhaustion of drinkable water reserves;
  • food production for export not endanger food security and sovereignty the needs of future generations;
  • traditional land rights be respected and recognized by the law; and
  • water not be exploited as a private economic commodity without due attention to people’s interests.


Social Justice and the Eradication of Poverty (Proposition 17)

The Synod Fathers have pleaded for an economy in service to the poor and strongly denounced an unjust economic order which has led to the perpetuation of poverty.

We therefore propose that:

3. leaders take adequate measures (access to land, access to water, infrastructures, etc.), to remedy poverty and to develop policies to ensure self-sufficiency in food production and educational programs which are production-oriented;

4. the further cancellation of debts with favourable conditions be advocated and the elimination of the practice of usury;

5 African governments be more prudent in accessing grants and loans so that they do not push their people into further debt. The poor and marginalised be empowered through initiatives such as micro-finance, agrarian and similar programs as the Church’s concrete sign of solidarity with the poor and marginalized;

6. Africa be actively involved as an important stakeholder in decision-making processes on international trade and socio-economic issues which affect her; and

7. the above-mentioned efforts be inspired and governed by the promotion of integral human development and authentic human values.

Source: Final Propostions of the 2° Synod of Bishops of Africa : "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace." (Roma 4-25 October 2009)


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