Bibles in greater demand than ever in Africa
"People are hungering and thirsting for the Word of God." This is how Moïse Adekambi, Director of the Biblical Center for Africa and Madagascar (BICAM) describes the continuing great demand for Bibles and Bible study offerings in Africa.
The Bible Center is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. It was founded in 1981 in order to coordinate the dissemination of Bibles in English-, French- and Portuguese-speaking African countries.
It also serves as an information center and network for employees and cooperation partners on both the national and local levels.
BICAM has maintained its headquarters in Accra, the capital of Ghana, since 2004.
“Many Catholics would like to expand their knowledge of the bible,” said Adekambi, a 54-year-old Catholic priest, during a visit of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
As one important reason for the growing interest, Moïse Adekambi cited the necessity of being able to explain the faith.
The faithful, he said, are in daily contact with non-Catholics or non-Christians who ask them about their beliefs. “And you have to understand the bible to do so,” noted Director Adekambi.
Father Adekambi regularly meets with staff members in western and eastern Africa. BICAM also organizes one workshop for the teams in each of the three language and country groups every year.
A continental meeting, attended by up to 50 staffers, is held every three years.
At the 2011 country meetings, one major topic was the necessity of seeking donations and enlisting aid organizations as supporters for educational efforts.
“We are approaching the faithful, but also seeking aid from abroad,” says Moïse Adekambi. For instance, Catholics are requested to donate half the printing and translation costs for a Bible, i.e. around five to ten dollars.
Bibles are not only published in European languages, but increasingly in African ones as well. The Bibles are then printed and distributed on the regional and national levels.
ACN has been supporting the work of BICAM for a number of years.