Speech by Minister of State Michelle Müntefering at the opening of the new premises of the German Africa Foundation

24.06.2019 - Speech

I’m delighted to be with you here this evening to celebrate the opening of the new premises of the German Africa Foundation.

This building is shining in new splendour. It offers a modern and motivating environment for the work with and on Africa - our neighbouring continent.

So it is a re-opening may be also for new ideas too.

I’d like to warmly congratulate everyone who worked tirelessly on this project!

Dr Eid, in your invitation to this evening’s event, you rightly pointed out that the German Africa Foundation has been engaged in fostering German-African relations for more than 40 years now.

We’re impressed by this commitment. And not only that – or perhaps I should say more importantly – it is in line with the goals of the German Government’s policy on Africa.

Even more our partnership with Africa was included in our 2018 coalition agreement as a priority.

Then in March 2019, we established a new conceptual framework for foreign policy with the Africa Policy Guidelines.

We intend to further enhance and intensify our partnership with Africa.

At the same time, however, we want to do more:

We want to pool and prioritise the German Government’s engagement.

Dr Eid, you and your staff are well acquainted with these Policy Guidelines.

After all, the German Africa Foundation makes a very substantial contribution towards the Africa policy debate in Germany and beyond.

I feel it is especially important that we engage with our neighbouring continent, the people living there and their representatives as equal partners.

This is in tune with the expectations of our African counterparts and interlocutors, who want a genuine partnership from Germany.

There are many genuine African success stories which we can and should make known.

On my trips, which have taken me among others to Nigeria, South Africa, Eritrea and Ethiopia, I have often encountered tremendous creativity and a wealth of ideas.

All of this demonstrates Africa’s great potential. And, of course, Africa has remarkable and strong personalities.

Dr Eid, distinguished guests,

Africa’s image is starting to undergo a fundamental, lasting change.

That’s long overdue.

I’m therefore especially pleased that we in Germany can build on a very active civil society, which is interested in African issues.

It follows the German Government’s work with a critical eye and also provides us with food for thought.

On the one hand, it staunchly supports us but also goes its own way.

The German Africa Foundation is an excellent example:

It is a renowned and independent dialogue partner for anyone from the world of politics, industry and business or the media interested in Africa.

The events organised by the German Africa Foundation are always very rewarding.

One example I’d like to mention is last year’s expert talks on “Germany and Namibia: the difficult road to a common future”.

And only recently, there was a workshop on sustainable supply chains and an event in the Bundestag entitled “Nature conservation and human rights in Africa – an unsolvable contradiction?”.

The latter event channelled the momentum created by bestowing the 2018 German Africa Award upon two nature conservationists from Madagascar and Tanzania.

You can be certain that I will continue to follow your programme.

I’d also like to encourage the representatives of African embassies with us here today to proactively approach the German Africa Foundation.

You can explore whether you could perhaps even organise an event together on a topic of interest to you.

After all, there’s a whole range of interesting issues such as sustainable development, economic growth, trade or employment for all.

Dr Eid, staff of the German Africa Foundation,

I wish you and the German Africa Foundation continued success with your activities and events, which are valuable and always topical.

The Federal Foreign Office remains committed to the Foundation and I hope that we can create synergy by working together to further Germany’s Africa policy.

Thank you very much.

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