Welcome

Speech by Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the luncheon for African Heads of Delegation (New York, 23 September 2008)

24.09.2008 - Speech

-- Translation of advance text --

Africa is on the rise. I saw this for myself during my visits to your continent in the summer of last year and again this spring.

The economic indicators speak for themselves. A growth rate of 7 per cent is impressive - especially as it has been generated not only by natural resources but also by trade, industry and services.

And perhaps even more importantly, the African Union is shouldering responsibility, building up an African security architecture and taking economic renewal into its own hands.

Not all problems have been resolved – let me remind you of the failure to accept the democratic election result in Zimbabwe – but progress is evident.

In less than two years' time, the whole world will be looking to Africa as it hosts the World Cup for the first time. I know from my own experience what a boost such an event can give a country, or in this case perhaps an entire continent.

And even if I share the view of the Togolese national player Emmanuel Adebayor that an African country could win, I hope that you'll give us your guests a chance.

Africa's new dynamism hasn't gone unnoticed in Germany. In our own interest, we want to intensify our cooperation with the African Union and reform-oriented countries on the continent.

This year's Ambassadors Conference – at which the Heads of German Missions gathered together in Berlin – focused on Africa. I had the pleasure of welcoming Jean Ping and Kofi Annan as our guests of honour.

The Ambassadors Conference was also intended to show that we want to set new priorities both in and with Africa.

During the new few years, we will open new branches of the Goethe-Institut in Africa and intensify our school exchange programmes. And we also want to bring more African culture to Germany in order to make Africa's cultural diversity and vitality even better known there.

We will strengthen economic cooperation by expanding the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and increasing development aid.

Above all, however, we want to support African efforts to create greater stability and security. This includes the African Union's conflict management and border programme, the African Standby Force, as well as police training.

If cooperation is to be successful on a lasting basis, it must also include the multilateral sphere. Progress in reforming the Security Council is therefore absolutely essential.

For one thing is clear: we can only tackle tomorrow's threats if the composition of the Security Council adequately reflects the world. It is therefore in our common interest to continue the reform process.

The last time Germany was a member of the Security Council, we demonstrated our readiness to enter into a genuine partnership with Africa. For this reason too, we very much hope that you will support our candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2011/12.

During the course of this week in New York, Special Envoy Adt – who many of you already know and perhaps already regard as an honorary African – would be happy to convince you of the merits of Germany's candidacy.

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