ACCRA, Ghana, July 31, 2022
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa, and Madagascar (SECAM) (www.SECAM.org), the association of Catholic Bishops of Africa, Madagascar, and the Islands, has elected His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana as its new President.
His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa.
The election, according to a statement by Most Rev. Emmanuel A. Badejo, President, Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS-SECAM), took place in Accra, Ghana, during the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM, whereby 130 participants, including Cardinals and Bishops representing over 600 Catholic Bishops of Africa came from all corners of the continent.
The new President succeeds His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo from Burkina Faso.
Another Cardinal, His Eminence Fridolin Besungu Ambongo of the Archdiocese of Kinshasha, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was elected First Vice-President, while Most Rev. Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai, in Mozambique, was elected Second Vice President.
The new President of SECAM, His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr, was created a Cardinal on May 29, 2022 by Pope Francis and will be officially installed Cardinal on August 27, 2022.
This is the first time since the establishment of SECAM, 53 years ago that a Ghanaian has been elected the President of SECAM.
The SECAM, established in 1969 in Kampala, Uganda during the visit of St. Pope Paul VI, was born out of the desire of African Catholic Bishops present at the Second Vatican Council to speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa.
The Symposium, headquartered in Accra, consists of eight regional associations:
– Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC).
– Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central African Region (ACERAC).
– Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE).
– Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA).
– Episcopal Conferences of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI).
– Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA).
– Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).
– Reunion of Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).
SECAM is the episcopal, continental structure of the Church Family of God in Africa which counts 505 dioceses grouped in 38 national or inter-territorial episcopal conferences and counts nearly 250 million Catholic faithful.
The headquarters / secretariat of SECAM is in Accra (Ghana) and a specific office is established in Nairobi (Kenya) for the translation of the Bible into African languages and its distribution in Africa and Madagascar.
Furthermore, SECAM is an observer to the African Union (AU) and is represented by the Cardinal Archbishop of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).