20 March 2009 – Pope Benedict XVI has made an emphatic appeal to
Africans to rid the continent of corruption once and for all.
The 81-year-old was speaking during a televised address in Angola during
a week-long tour of African countries.
The Pope said that with integrity, magnanimity and compassion Africans
could transform their continent.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has launched a similar attack,
accusing many African presidents of running anti-democratic regimes.
The Pope arrived in the Angolan capital Luanda on Friday from Cameroon,
on the second leg of his African tour.
The BBC's Louise Redvers, in Luanda, said thousands of people gathered
at the city's airport to greet him, some waiting from the early hours.
Among the crowds many women in traditional Catholic uniforms of brightly
coloured headscarves and sarongs.
The crowd began to cheer as the papal plane flew overhead but broke into
a frenzy as his motorcade drove into the city, with some people breaking
free at the sides of the roads to run alongside his car, our
The Pope said in his address that the people in Angola knew "the time of
hope has arrived" for Africa and that every "decent, hopeful human
behaviour" would make a difference to God and in history.
"My beloved friends, with an upright, magnanimous heart that is also
compassionate, you can transform this continent, freeing the people from
the whip of greed, violence, disorder and guiding it through the path of
those principles that are indispensible to any modern democracy," he
Those principles, he said, included respect, transparent governance,
freedom of the press, health care and adequate schooling as well as the
promotion of human rights.
The 81-year-old pontiff said Africans needed "a firm determination to
change hearts and finally put a stop, once and for all, to corruption".
He also repeated concerns raised while he was in Cameroon that modern
culture was destroying traditional African family values and he
criticised the spread of sexual violence and abortion.
The Pope's speech was echoed by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who
has been Angola's leader for the past three decades and through a civil
war which has left hundreds of thousands dead.
Mr dos Santos said Angolans were "looking for the best ways to rebuild
what was destroyed in the recent past, and to build a modern society
that will integrate all the people without discrimination or exclusion".