What the new pope means for the poor

Priority number one for the new pope has been fighting poverty in the slums of Buenos Aires. What effect might he have on the global scene in his new position?

The new pope, Pope Francis I, is a fan of a local soccer club in Buenos Aires that began by pulling at-risk boys off the streets. He considers social outreach a key business of the Catholic Church. To some, its global networks make up the largest charity in the world.

John Katunga of Catholic Relief Services in Kenya cheered the news from the Vatican. He wants the new pope to push for fair lending terms and for development programs in African economies -- starting with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"These are the big ones," says Katunga, "and have really a direct bearing on how Africa can develop itself and lift out of poverty."

Pope Francis has criticized the IMF in the past for facilitating inequality. In recent decades the Vatican has sought to be a moral voice -- making the case greed was at the center of the financial crisis, and that an increasingly linked world economy should focus squarely on those left behind.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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