Pope Francis begins five-day tour of Africa with a visit to Democratic Republic of Congo
Pope Francis left this Tuesday (01.31.2023) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) embarking on the first leg of his fifth African tour. Initially scheduled for July 2022, the visit had to be postponed due to knee pain suffered by the 86-year-old Supreme Pontiff, who uses a wheelchair, as well as security problems in Goma, in the northeast of the country.
His trip to Africa, that will also take him to South Sudan, aims to bring a message of peace and reconciliation to the DRC, a country rich in natural resources but with an impoverished population and plagued by violence and misery.
In the DRC, with a population roughly estimated at 100 million people, two-thirds of whom living on less than $2.15 a day, the pontiff expects to discuss the “armed confrontations and exploitation” suffered by the population.
The African country faces the resurgence of the M23 armed group, which has seized large parts of the North Kivu province, bordering Rwanda. The DRC government has accused Rwanda of interference.
This is the 40th international trip of Pope Francis.