Nairobi - After celebrating his first Mass in Africa, Pope Francis is turning his attention to society's most marginal in a visit to a sprawling slum on the north-western edge of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Kangemi is one of 11 slums dotting Nairobi, East Africa's largest city. The shanty itself has about 50 000 residents living without basic sanitation. Most of the capital's slums comprise a maze of single-room mud structures with iron-sheet roofing or cramped, high-rise buildings.
Francis referred to the problem of urban shanties in his speech to the African UN headquarters on Thursday, saying everyone has a basic right to "dignified living conditions", and that the views of local residents must be taken into account when urban planners are designing new construction.
He said that this will help eliminate the many instances of "inequality and pockets of urban poverty, which are not simply economic but also, and above all, social and environmental."
The message was keenly felt because the UN Habitat programme, which seeks to promote adequate and environmentally sustainable housing, is based in Nairobi.