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Pope asks world leaders to help ease poverty in Sahel

February 10, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI urged world leaders to provide needed relief for the people of sub-Saharan Africa, as he met on February 10 with representatives of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel.

While thanking the foundation for its efforts, the Holy Father encouraged other groups to join in providing aid to the people of the region, “whose living conditions are deteriorating.” He said that life in the countries just south of the Sahara “has been seriously threatened by a significant drop in food supplies and famine, caused by low rainfall and the consequent inexorable advance of the desert.”

The Pope observed that Christian relief agencies have generally worked cooperatively with Muslim groups in the countries of the Sahel. The work of the John Paul II Sahel Foundation, he said, shows “the importance of bearing witness to the fact that Christ lives, and that his love goes beyond all religions, races and cultures.”

The John Paul II Sahel Foundation was set up by the late Pontiff in 1980, following his first voyage to Africa, to provide assistance to the world’s most impoverished region. The foundation is active in projects that support agriculture, food assistance, irrigation, and infrastructure in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.


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