By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Pope Francis urged young people in Africa to craft a new future Thursday without ethnic rivalry and corruption which are fueling bloody conflicts on the continent.
Francis addressed more than 65,000 young people at Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa on the third day of his visit to the Congo.
He appealed for them to “do the right thing” and cautioned against repeating the mistakes of previous generations.
“Say no to corruption. Honesty provides an antidote to the cancer of corruption,” he said. “If someone offers you a bribe, or promises you favors and lots of money, do not fall into the trap. Do not be deceived. Do not be sucked into the swamp of evil.”
The pope urged the young to work for a better future by reflecting frequently on what he called five ingredients: prayer, community, honesty forgiveness and service.
African economies have lost nearly $150 billion to corruption each year, according to the UN.
The latest report by global anti-graft watchdog, Transparency International, shows some of the worst performing countries in the corruption perception index are in Africa.
Turning to the ethnic rivalry which has stoked conflict and violence in eastern Congo, the pope warned young people to “beware of the temptation to point a finger at someone, to exclude another person because he or she is different.”
“Beware of regionalism, tribalism, or anything that makes you feel secure in your own group,” he said.
Francis, who arrived Tuesday in Congo, heads to South Sudan on Friday, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of Scotland Moderator for a “pilgrimage of peace.”