The 2020 (32nd) Annual General Assembly of AEFJN and our first-ever virtual AGM, took place on 12 November 2020, with the theme, “STRENGTHENING NETWORKING IN AFRICA”. There were 42 participants at the meeting, out of which 28 member congregations were represented.  After the opening prayer led by Fr. Pachut SMA on the theme, “The Mission of Christ’s Disciples, Our Mission”, a mission that impels us to be bearers of love, forgiveness, justice and peace to all of God’s people in a wounded and broken world. The President, Fr. Andre Claessens MSC, welcomed the participants and highlighted in his report the activities of the executive committee. As in so many places, the pandemic and its imposed restrictions crippled the activities if the executice.

The Executive Secretary, Fr. Chika Onyejiuwa, CCSp, presented the activities of the Secretariat in Brussels and underlined the huge importance of the EU-Africa Summit that was planned in October, 2020 in Brussels and now postponed to Spring 2021. He emphasized that the more we, as religious, can make our voices heard in the policy spaces, the greater the possibility we will have to ensure that more just and equitable policies are promulgated for all peoples, particularly the poor and voiceless in the developing south.

The Secretariat and other actors of Our Land is Our life platform have therefore, initiated a  Signature Campaign in view of the EU-Africa Partnership that will be launched with the European Commission on December 9. This platform is further creating opportunities for open and direct conversations between the north and the grassroots in the South. The Executive Secretary underlined that the North/South collaboration has also helped to create a pool of society experts to support the participation African State actors in the UN (IGWG) business and human right treaty negotiations.

After the break Sr. Jerly Renacia SSpS, assisted by Fr. Jef Matton, CICM, presented the financial report for 2020 and the proposed budget for 2021. Fr. Martin Grenier, MAfr, presented the Revised Statutes & By-Laws that were approved by a large majority of the assembly.

At the end the President thanked everyone present for their active participation in the meeting and prayed that the spirit of our founding fathers and mothers will continue to spur us on into greater action as we work together to ensure that just and fair economic relationships across nations and continents exist in our world today. The AGM ended with the prayer “Glory Be to the Father”.

André Claessens, MSC