Pope Francis’ “Hands Off Africa”, a new book released early this week, asks Western powers to stop seeing Africa as a land to be “plundered” but should allow it to be the protagonist of its own destiny.

Prime Business Africa (PBA) reports the book contains reflections on Pope Francis’ visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) early this year where he made far-reaching statements relating to the exploitation of Africa and its resources by the West. DRC is rich in natural resources but has a weak governance and institutions to harness its natural wealth, a situation exploited by immigrants and Western nations with little or no accountability.

“Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be exploited. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!” were the words of the Catholic Pontiff when he visited DRC early in the year.

Joseph Tulloc, a graduate fellow with the Vatican News, reports that “Hands Off Africa”, which is written in Italian, has hit book stores in Europe after the Vatican Publishing House announced its release on Wednesday.

Specifically, the book is a collection of all speeches made by Pope Francis during his visit to DRC and South Sudan immediately afterwards.

“Hands Off Africa” does not however contain only the voice of Pope Francis but adds those of those he met during his visit in DRC and South Sudan – two countries torn by vicious conflict. Pope Francis had listened to the testimonies of war victims, and other stories too, which are now included in the volume.

Prime Business Africa reports that the preface of the Pope’s new book is written by Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Adichie, who described the book as a small silver of hope for Congo.