Pope Francis has arrived in Ecuador on the first stop of a seven-day tour of South America, his second visit to the region since becoming pontiff in 2013.
“Everyone in society should be able to benefit from progress in the world,” he said in a speech on the Quito airport runway.
His trip will focus on the issue of poverty, the Vatican said.
The pontiff will also travel to Bolivia and Paraguay, but not his home country of Argentina.
The Vatican said the decision not to visit the continent’s larger nations reflected the Pope’s interest in the “peripheries”.
‘Unfair and immoral’
Pope Francis was welcomed at Quito airport by left-wing President Rafael Correa, a devout Catholic.
Mr Correa praised Ecuador’s multicultural heritage and biodiversity and criticised the immigration policies of wealthy nations.
“They are looking for global consumers, not global citizens. The world order is not only unfair, but immoral,” said Mr Correa.
The Pope said that “the tools to deal with the challenges of our times” could be found in the Gospel of Jesus.
“I’ve been to Ecuador several times,” he added.
“The faith in Jesus Christ has shaped this people.”
Pope Francis is the first leader of the Roman Catholic Church to come from South America.
In 2007, before becoming Pope, he told a gathering of Latin American bishops that they were living in the most unequal part of the world.
On Wednesday Pope Francis will travel to Bolivia.
He has requested to chew coca leaves while in Bolivia, according to Culture Minister Marko Machicao.
Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant.
In September the Pope will travel to Cuba ahead of a trip to the US.
The pontiff is credited with helping bring about last December’s diplomatic thaw between the two countries.
During his previous visit to Latin America in 2013, he addressed millions on Brazil’s Copacabana Beach as part of a Catholic youth festival.