Pope Benedict XVI will make his first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa this year, in his first tour of the continent as Pontiff. An estimated 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are Catholic.
Benedict is scheduled to visit the countries of Angola and Cameroon between the 17th and the 23rd of March. He had made the surprise announcement of his trip back in October of last year, but finally shed light as to the details just last week.
Cameroon will be the first stop on Benedict's itinerary, where he will meet with representatives from Cameroon's Muslim community. The Pope will also deliver the working document of the synod of bishops that will take place later this year.
In Angola, the Pope is set to celebrate the 5th centennial of the former Portuguese colony's evangelization. He is also expected to meet with Catholic organizations that promote the advancement of women.
The Pontiff is also expected to meet with the presidents of both countries, as well as with a group of bishops from southern Africa.
The Vatican's announcement of Benedict's trip to Africa comes four months before a possible trip to Israel, which remains uncertain in light of recent violence with Palestine.
The Pope's third international trip is scheduled for September to the Czech Republic.