Pope Benedict XVI called on African leaders Monday to make the needs of the poor their prime concern. 

The Roman Catholic pontiff made his remarks before heading back to Rome from the airport in Angola's capital, Luanda.

During his seven-day trip to Cameroon and Angola, the pope promoted the message of Christianity as a way to inspire hope.  But his rejection of condoms as a means to fight Africa's AIDS epidemic provoked a firestorm of criticism during his visit. 

Pope Benedict celebrated Mass Sunday with an estimated one million Christian faithful in Luanda.

In his homily, the pope lamented what he called "clouds of evil" over Africa.  He said war and greed have robbed the continent of the resources needed to build a better society.

The Vatican says Africa has been a place of tremendous growth for the Catholic Church.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.