News Release

West African Leaders Praise Church Focus on Family and Humanitarian Work

Senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited several countries in West Africa last week, where they met with government representatives, including the president of the Republic of Ghana.


Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Accra on Thursday, May 30, 2019. He was joined by Elder Marcus B. Nash and Elder Edward Dube of the Africa West Area Presidency, along with other Church leaders.

“I was very excited when I got the message that you were visiting,” President Akufo-Addo told Church leaders. “We share in your teachings about the family as the fundamental unit of society and the connection to nation building.”

Elder Christofferson spoke about the Church and its activities in Ghana, including missionary work and humanitarian efforts. “Some of the projects the Church has embarked on in Ghana and [continues] to do [include] the provision of clean water, wheelchairs, vision care, maternal and newborn care, and other community projects.”

“We appreciate the great things your Church is doing in Ghana, and of course [we are] very enthused to discuss further your interest in sanitation and education in Ghana,” stated President Akufo-Addo.

Benin Republic

In Cotonou, Benin Republic, Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Hugo E. Martinez of the Africa West Area Presidency and other Church leaders were received by Orou Baro Mora of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security.

Bishop Caussé gave a brief introduction to the Church and its activities in Benin.

“Thank you for letting me know about the Church and what you do for our people,” stated the cabinet minister. “What you have said shows love. Love for the people is the main driving force of what our government does. You are in perfect harmony with the objectives of our government.”

Côte d’Ivoire

On May 31, Daniel Kablan Duncan, the vice president of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast, welcomed Elder Christofferson and other Church leaders to the presidential palace in Abidjan. Elder Christofferson was accompanied to the visit by Bishop Caussé, Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Dube and Elder Dominique Dékayé, an Area Seventy.

Vice President Duncan stated that he was aware of the Church’s humanitarian activities in Côte d’Ivoire and was happy to finally meet with the leaders of the Church. He said that the country of Côte d’Ivoire is tolerant of religious activities.

“We therefore welcome all religious bodies who proclaim and practice peace,” said Vice President Duncan.

Elder Christofferson thanked the vice president for receiving the Church’s delegation. The apostle said that even though the Church is relatively young in Côte d’Ivoire, it is very active in the provision of humanitarian services to the people of the country. He also talked about missionary work, the importance the Church places on the family as the basic unit of the society and the blessings the temple under construction in Abidjan would bring to the nation.

Elder Vinson also participated in meetings in West Africa which began on May 24. The senior leaders and their wives met with Latter-day Saints, including missionaries, in Ghana, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.

Africa West Area

The Africa West Area includes 17 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Western Sahara.

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