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Merkel’s ‘man in Africa’ downbeat on prospects for Africa-EU summit

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Merkel’s ‘man in Africa’ downbeat on prospects for Africa-EU summit

Günther Nooke, Angela Merkel’s representative to Africa, offered a gloomy prognosis of November’s Africa-EU summit in Abidjan on Tuesday (11 April), saying trade between the continents was “almost irrelevant” and that the African Union required major “institutional reform”. The summit comes against a backdrop of a slew of measures, such as the German Marshall Plan for Africa, the EU’s new Migration Compacts, and Emergency Trust Funds for Africa, the Sustainable Development Goals and the EU’s New Consensus on Development – all seen as kick-starting a fresh dynamic between the world’s poorest continent and Europe. But Nooke – who is Commissioner for Africa at the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – painted a much gloomier picture at a Brussels event hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. His criticisms will be all the more stinging as Germany will this summer host the G20 summit in Hamburg, explicitly devoted to a focus on Africa. The seminar on the upcoming Africa-EU summit heard that many African governments are ‘ill-performing.’ [Matthew Tempest] Nooke warned an audience of around 100 aid experts that “every malnourished child [in Africa] is a complaint against an African government”, adding in an implied threat that “those willing to take up this challenge will get support.” He said that, while he agreed with the German chancellor that “the well-being of Africa is in Europe’s interests”, “that does not mean we carry the whole responsibility. “We find that many African governments do not perform well.” He warned that with the African population set to double by 2050 “we need a paradigm shift to deal this. “African government structure will have to improve dramatically for this to be sustainable.”

Source: Euroactiv