VATICAN CITY, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The Vatican confirmed Thursday that Pope Francis will visit various African countries in November.
The Pope had teased his visit at a news conference in January during the summer, but is now officially set to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic after requests from authorities in those countries.
His visit will take place Nov. 25 to 30.
The Pope had informally confirmed his travel plans during a June 12 Third World Priests Retreat after an African priest asked him when he would be able to visit.
During this meeting, the Pope also addressed a shortage of priests in the region despite a strong presence of catechists that "carry the Church forward." He also acknowledged the violence and destruction being waged by militant groups like Boko Haram and the need to resolve social and developmental problems there so as to stymie migration of Africans to Europe.
Kenya is first on the list for Nov. 25 to 27 stay, followed by Uganda for Nov. 27 to 29 and the Central African Republic Nov. 29 to 30. The pope said his Uganda visit will come right after the 50th anniversary of the 22 Ugandan martyrs killed in the 1960s for refusing to suspend their religious beliefs. They were granted sainthood in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the Central African Republic is one of the world's poorest countries with an approximate per capita gross domestic product of $600 in 2014. The CAR has also been besieged by civil conflicts between the government and local rebels.