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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Central Africa: a testing ground for German development minister

New German Development Minister Dirk Niebel has begun a one-week trip to Central Africa. Deutsche Welle asked experts just how effective aid has been in the region up to now, and whether changes are necessary. Dirk Niebel's visit to Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique is his first official foreign trip since taking office. It is being seen by many as a litmus test of the intentions of the Liberal Democrat, who has vowed to bring about a fundamental shift of German policy. Just a few days before his departure the development minister sparked controversy with his remarks that he did not see the ministry as a "benefit office for the world." This and other comments clearly indicated that he also saw his remit as representing German business interests abroad. The fact that the Liberals have been put in charge of this portfolio had already raised many eyebrows. During coalition talks, the party had called for the complete abolition of the post and its integration into the foreign ministry.

Source: Deutsche Welle