The Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa, an organ that unites all the Catholic Bishops in the 16 West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee Bissau, Guinee (Conakry), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, held her 7th Standing Committee Meeting at the Centre CERAO pour la Pastoral et La Mission in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (a retreat centre for the bishops but open to all for the organisation of various events and pilgrimages) from 12 to 16th February, 2019.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting, the President of RECOWA, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, discussed the theme of the meeting: The new Evangelisation and the Promotion of Integral Human Development in the Church Family of God in West Africa in the light of Laudatosi.
He said that the various developmental challenges in the region has made it mandatory for the Church to concentrate on integral human development of the people to help them in living a more fulfilled life especially in the face of the serious lack of requisite structures in the society which has led to the aggravation of the poverty of the masses. He further explained that the same theme will still occupy all the bishops of the region when they come together for their 3rd Plenary Assembly which will come up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 13th to 20th May, 2019.
Apart from the discussions on the theme, the bishops also looked at the other problems of the region especially the problem of bad governance. They equally shared their views concerning the forthcoming meeting in Vatican for the protection of minors as well as the issues touching on migration.
Speaking on the outcome of the meeting, the Secretary General of the Conference, Rev. Fr. Joseph Aka, expressed satisfaction with the result of the meeting and looked forward to a successful Plenary Assembly in May. He equally announced that the Standing Committee has appointed a Communication Officer for the conference: Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu, from the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Nigeria.