Ecumenicals to discuss how to attain African economic liberation

(Photo: Reuters / Adriane Ohanesian)Men carry bags of food while women wait for their rations at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) food distribution site in Pibor, South Sudan, June 25, 2012.

An ecumenical gathering in Tanzania this week will assess investments in poverty eradication and development in Africa to determine how the continent can attain economic liberation, social welfare and ecological protection in partnership with the European Union, United States and China.

Participants in the talks, which take place in Arusha, Tanzania from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1 will develop a joint statement after the event.

Experts involved will include economists, sociologists, ecologists and others from Africa, the EU, the U.S. and China,  according to the World Council of Churches, which is organizing the event together with the All Africa Conference of Churches.

"This consultation will assess if there are visible marks of poverty reduction following 50 years of EU and US involvement in Africa's development," said Dr. Rogate Mshana, program executive for the World Council of Chruches Poverty Wealth and Ecology program.

"In this significant dialogue, participants will analyze relations between China's strong presence in Africa and poverty reduction. It is in this context that the consultation will discuss the role churches need to play," he said.

Other participating institutions in the event include Building Eastern Africa Community Network (BEACON), Helsinki initiative on Globalization and Democracy, Ecumenical Justice Network of the Fellowship of Churches in Southern Africa and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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