Speaking to political and religious leaders at the presidential palace in Cotonou, the 84-year-old German pontiff urged African governments to become "good news for the entire world," the Voice of America reported.
As part of his 3-day visit to Africa, the pope called for the continent's political and economic leaders to show courage and be ethical, Vatican Radio reported.
"Do not deprive your people of hope," he said. "Do not cut them off from their future by mutilating their present. Adopt a courageous, ethical approach to your responsibilities."
Without naming specific countries, the pope said Africa needs a political change.
"At this time, there are too many scandals and injustices, too much corruption and greed, too many errors and lies, too much violence which leads to misery and to death," he said.
The Vatican said Benedict chose Benin as his main venue for the 3-day African visit as it has a growing number of Christians amid a Muslim and voodoo animist population.