Pope Benedict is urging the international community to address the problems of poverty and malnutrition in Africa’s Sahel, the region of semiarid grassland and desert south of the Sahara Desert.
“The Sahel was seriously threatened again in recent months by a notable decrease in food resources and by famine caused by a lack of rain and the resulting increase in desertification,” the pope said.
Africa is often described as the continent of conflict and infinite problems, but he said the opposite is true. For the church, he said, Africa “is the continent of hope.”
Six million people in Niger are highly vulnerable to food insecurity, extreme poverty and malnutrition; 2.9 million in Mali; 700,000 in Mauritania; and more than 2 million in Burkina Faso. Thirteen of Chad’s 22 regions could be affected by food insecurity.