Merkel urges companies to switch focus from Asia to Africa

2018-10-30 19:53
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday urged companies to take a closer look at Africa's "huge" economic opportunities, as Germany hopes that development of the continent will help curb illegal migration to Europe.

"For many years we have been very focused on Asia. I think that in future we should turn our sights more on Africa," Merkel said at an investment forum in Berlin, stressing Africa's "huge potential for growth".

The gathering, attended by leaders from around a dozen African countries, is part of Merkel's so-called "Compact with Africa" initiative launched last year during Germany's stint as G20 president.

The ambitious scheme aims to help African countries attract private investment along with technical and financial assistance, in return for reforms that improve the business climate, such as fighting corruption or improving rule of law.

"It is of great interest to Europeans that African states have good economic prospects," Merkel told the audience, which included Rwandan President Paul Kagame and South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa.

"That requires public but especially private investments."

Merkel has placed a strong emphasis on African diplomacy in recent months, backing efforts to boost prosperity on the continent in order to dissuade its people, especially the young, from setting off for Europe.

The veteran chancellor has come under intense pressure at home to stem the flow of migrants after the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015 deeply polarised Germany.

Most of the migrants came from conflict-torn Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq but many thousands also arrived from impoverished African countries - even though their chances of winning political asylum are slim.

Addressing the conference, Rwandan leader Kagame welcomed investments by the likes of Volkswagen and Siemens in his country, which he said had spurred interest from other foreign companies as well.

Ghana, Tunisia and Ivory Coast have together already received $414m in financial assistance under the "Compact with Africa" initiative, mainly in the form of low-interest loans.

Critics however complain that the project is not aimed at helping Africa's poorest nations, focusing instead on countries whose living standards are already improving - and are a more interesting destination for export champions like Germany.

Der Spiegel weekly also slammed the conference for putting business above politics by inviting autocratic leaders such as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi "who has thrown thousands of regime critics in jail and suppressed civil society".

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook


Read more on:    abdel fattah al-sisi  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  paul kagame  |  egypt  |  south africa  |  rwanda  |  africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.