Foreign Minister Steinmeier arrived this morning in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. On his first visit to Africa during his second term in office, Steinmeier wants to emphasise that Germany views the up-and-coming countries of Africa as partners in efforts to solve global challenges and believes that the resulting economic and social ties will bring opportunities to both sides. From 23 to 27 March, the Foreign Minister will visit Ethiopia, Tanzania and Angola.
Germany views the countries of Africa as increasingly important players in international affairs and aims to engage in more in-depth exchanges with them on how best to tackle global challenges, among other things. In this connection, Germany appreciates the work that African states are doing to take on more direct responsibility and to build an African peace and security architecture. At the same time, it is important to pay attention to ongoing risks associated with conflicts and fragile state structures. The Foreign Minister’s trip, which is taking place just ahead of the EU-Africa summit to be held in Brussels in early April, intends to underscore the breadth of Germany’s political, economic and social engagement in Africa.
Prior to departing for Africa, Steinmeier stated:
Africa is a continent on the rise. In recent years, our neighbouring continent has changed much faster than we realise. It’s worth taking a closer look and investing more in our partnership with Africa.
This is why the German Government aims to adopt Africa policy guidelines that will serve as the basis for focusing and expanding Germany’s activities in, for and with Africa. The German Foreign Minister added:
All three of the countries that I will be visiting have posted dynamic levels of growth for years and are committed to regional integration and development. This is just as much a part of Africa’s reality as the conflicts in Mali, Somalia and South Sudan.
Ethiopia: Expanding Africa’s peace and security architecture
Steinmeier started his Africa visit on Monday (24 March), arriving in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa for talks with African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as well as with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia. Their discussions will focus on the roles that the AU and Ethiopia play in Africa. The AU reflects Africa’s initiative in taking responsibility for the construction of a peace and security architecture for the entire continent. Ethiopia itself plays a key role as regional mediator, for example by promoting stability in the Horn of Africa within the framework of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and by mediating the conflict between the Sudan and South Sudan. A meeting with civil society representatives will also focus on domestic political conditions in Ethiopia.
Tanzania: 50 years of bilateral relations
Foreign Minister Steinmeier will be in Tanzania on Tuesday (25 March) for the second stop of his Africa visit. In Dar es Salaam, he will likewise meet with representatives from government and civil society. In addition, Steinmeier will get together with students to talk about “50 years of bilateral relations between Tanzania and Germany”. He will also visit an infrastructure project run by a road-building company to get a first-hand impression of the country’s potential for economic development.
Angola: Opening of the German-Angolan Economic Forum
The final stop on Steinmeier’s trip will be Angola, where the German Foreign Minister will open the German-Angolan Economic Forum on Wednesday (26 March). Thanks to the country’s political development since the end of the civil war and its large reserves of raw materials, Angola is well on its way to becoming an economic and political heavyweight in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Luanda Steinmeier will be meeting with government representatives as well as with opposition members and and civil society players.