Merkel calls for Africa funds
German Chancellor makes ties with the continent the focus of the country’s G20 presidency
17 June, 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed last Monday in Berlin several African leaders ahead of next month's G20 summit, news wires reported. The leaders of the African Union from Guinea, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Mali, Ghana, Tunisia, Rwanda and other nations were in Berlin to discuss a so-called “compact with Africa”. The initiative seeks to team up African nations which have committed to economic reforms with private investors who would then bring jobs and businesses.
Reducing poverty and conflict in Africa were the main topics raised by Merkel during her talks with African leaders as she has made ties with the Black continent the focus of Germany's G20 presidency. “Positive development in the world will not work unless all continents participate. We need an initiative that does not talk about Africa, but with Africa,” she pointed out.
Berlin is seeking to alleviate poverty particularly in African countries whose citizens have been among the hundreds of thousands of people who have arrived in Germany as asylum seekers over the past two years. Last year, Germany took in around 890,000 migrants, thousands of whom came from African countries including Eritrea, Ghana and Ethiopia. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said the solution to mass migration “lies in the massive creation of jobs through strong and inclusive economic growth,” adding that “young Africans will feel better in Africa than elsewhere.”
Underscoring the pressure African countries face, Merkel contrasted Germany's average age of 43 with the average age in Niger and Mali of 15. “If we don't give young people any prospects, if we don't invest in education and qualifications, if we don't strengthen the role of girls and young women, the development agenda won't succeed,” she pointed out. Merkel also said that delevoped countries should be more open to transferring weapons to African nations as part of their development aid so that those countries can more easily combat militant groups. She pledged German support for a French plan to authorise a West African force to battle terrorism in the Sahel region.
Separately, German Finance Ministry announced last Monday that it agreed partnerships with Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Ghana as part of a planned investment of up to €300m to help African nations.