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Is Berlin's New Africa Policy Faltering?


Monday, 10 April 2017

Is Berlin's New Africa Policy Faltering?

Germany wants to use its G20 presidency to mobilize more assistance for Africa. But it has yet to work out a strategy which has been properly coordinated between government ministries and time is running out. Germany's development minister Gerd Müller (above, right) is a man with a mission he is impatient to fulfill. He recently attended the Berlin African Economic Forum, a conference convened by the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) and the Westerwelle Foundation, which is named after the late German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle. Müller said he was pleased that plans to turn 2017 into Germany's Year for Africa were finally firming up. "We have plenty of backing in the finance and economics ministries," he said. After the conference, he planned to meet Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. "We want to brief him on Africa. He's open for ideas and is supporting us all the way," Müller said. 'Marshall Plan with Africa' Germany's Year for Africa refers to a policy decision by the government in Berlin to use Germany's presidency of the G20 major economies to mobilize more resources for Africa. Various ministries have already outlined their plans for this project, or are working on them. Müller and the development ministry unveiled its "Marshall Plan with Africa" in January. The finance ministry, in cooperation with other G20 countries, is drawing up a "Compact with Africa." Last December, the development and economics ministries presented a joint strategy paper on promoting more trade and investment in Africa. Search for common strategy Helmut Asche, professor for African studies at the Universities of Mainz and Leipzig, told DW that he thinks the German government's new-found commitment to Africa is "a splendid idea." Nonetheless, he has certain reservations. "It is an open secret that coordination between the various ministries could be, to put it mildly, better. This has not escaped our African partners," he said. The ministries themselves are now starting to realize this, Asche said. However, a joint, coordinated German government strategy on Africa for the G20 presidency is still lacking. There is a myriad of unanswered questions surrounding both the "Marshall Plan" and the "Compact with Africa."

Source: AllAfrica