Pope Francis puts climate change in focus during his Africa trip

Photo: EPA Pope Francis waves on an aircraft at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci International airport, Fiumicino, 4 September.

Pope Francis starts a trip to the African continent on Wednesday, including Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius, three countries heavily threatened by climate change. Protecting the environment and the dangers of climate change have been key issues for Pope Francis, who published an encyclical or "laudato si" on the topic back in 2015, and said in June that the Church was "fully committed to do its part" to help stop climate change, dpa reported.

Francis will begin his trip in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, on Wednesday evening. The former Portuguese colony has been hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth this year. Some 28% of the country's population of nearly 30 million are Catholic.The southern African nation is affected by ongoing, sporadic violence between the ruling party Felimo and the main opposition party, the former rebel group Renamo. The two groups fought against each other in a 15-year civil war that ended in 1992. General elections are set to be held on 15 October amidst a tense atmosphere and growing concerns about renewed violence.

Pope Francis’ next stop will be Madagascar, which along with Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the World Bank, the world's fourth-largest island suffers three cyclones per year on average.

Mauritius, which lies east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, also suffers from cyclones and rising sea levels. Francis described Mauritius in a video message as a country that had developed from a meeting of many different ethnicities and enjoys a rich and diverse culture and religious traditions.


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