In Nigeria, Minister of State Müntefering met her counterpart in the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim. The two women discussed the spectrum of German-Nigerian relations, focusing among other things on the situation in Nigeria in the run up to the elections planned for 2019, the role of women, human rights, migration issues and organised crime, as well as German support for Nigeria’s efforts to combat Boko Haram and for stabilisation in the Lake Chad region.
Minister of State Müntefering also held political talks with the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Brou, and the Vice President, Finda Koroma, on the current security-policy crises in Africa.
During the trip, Minister of State Müntefering also sought to exchange views with Nigerian women and civil society on current political issues. In addition, she met people from the culture sector and film industry in Nollywood, as well as members of the creative industries and start up entrepreneurs in Yabacon Valley.
Nigeria, an aspiring power of vital importance in West Africa, plays a significant role on the continent: in political terms, in security policy in the cross border fight against terrorism and organised crime, and also in economic and cultural terms. In travelling to Nigeria, Minister of State Müntefering was following on from Foreign Minister Maas’s visit to Africa in early May for talks at the African Union and in Tanzania. Both visits underline Africa’s key importance for German foreign policy.
Commenting on her first trip to Africa and Nigeria on 21 and 22 May, Minister of State Müntefering said:
“It is true what people told me. Before you go to Africa for the first time, you simply have to forget everything you think you know about it. Nigeria profiles itself as a country of opportunities and potential. At the same time, there are risks and uncertainties in Africa’s biggest country, with its 190 million or so inhabitants, roughly 12 million of them in the metropolis Lagos alone, where the buoyant mood of a self confident generation of young Nigerians is tangible and is reflected in a vibrant start up scene and booming creative sector in Nollywood. Artists and an active civil society with strong, committed women show Nigeria as a country of opportunities and cultural diversity which is nonetheless aware of the challenges it faces. Boko Haram terrorism remains a danger, particularly in the north of the country, where the fanatical fighters kidnap young girls, depriving them of their education, and terrorise whole swathes of the countryside. There is poverty in both rural and urban areas, and there are main roads which turn into rivers in the rainy season, almost bringing traffic to a standstill. I encouraged our Nigerian partners to continue their efforts to combat human trafficking and cross border crime, while respecting human rights, and assured them of continuing support from Germany and Europe. During my visit to Nigeria, I was able to see that the election campaign is just getting underway. Germany, Europe and Africa will be looking to the continent’s most populous country when it goes to the polls in February 2019.”