The challenges affecting the West Africa region—political instability, Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, proliferation of small arms—require a strong response by the churches of that region. The consultation is a response to a request from WCC member churches of West Africa to provide a platform through which to develop a regional response and strategy to these challenges.
The consultation is bringing together nearly 30 leaders, theologians, and practitioners from various Christian denominations from 12 West African countries, including a participant from Niger, which recently had a coup.
WCC programme director of Public Witness and Diakonia Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata is joining participants in exploring ecumenical approaches to peace and stability in West Africa.
In his opening remarks, Mtata highlighted the focus on “just peace” at the 1948 founding assembly of the WCC. “I highlighted the three dimensions of just peace, namely the theological, the policy, and practical dimensions,” he said,
A keynote address by Prof. Theophile Ahadzi-Nonou highlighted the social, political, and security dimensions of peace in West Africa. He showed how 48 subsaharan African countries are in need of nation building as they remain fragile, failing, or weak states.
“On a physical level, security is the absence of danger, that is to say a situation in which a person, a group of people or an entity is not exposed to critical events or risks,” said Ahadzi-Nonou. “On a psychological level, security is the state of mind of a person, or a group of people, who feels peaceful, reassured, confident, safe from danger.”