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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Merkel announces Niger aid package during Africa trip

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday (10 October) announced a €27 million aid package for Niger, her second stop in a three-nation Africa tour aimed at fighting terrorism and stemming the migrant influx to Europe. The German leader said the army of the arid west African country, one of the world’s poorest, would receive €10 million worth of equipment next year. Germany will also build a military base to back up the UN mission in neighbouring Mali, the first country she had visited on the whirlwind African tour. Merkel also promised €17 million as development aid for Niger’s arid and desperately impoverished Agadez region in the north in a bid to fight migration to Europe. “What compensation can we offer to the people of Agadez to help them survive?” she said. “While these people fight smugglers, illegal emigration, they need revenues. Earlier they lived off tourism and that is something they cannot do now,” she said. Unrest in the region, including jihadist attacks and tourist kidnappings, have led to a sharp fall in the number of visitors. She said efforts to stall the influx of migrants into Europe would be futile without development. Niger is a key transit point for people from sub-Saharan Africa who try to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe.

Source: euractiv.com