Angela Merkel has returned from her three-day visit to West Africa. She met with the heads of state of Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria to talk about migration and economy. She required that people should be better informed about the dangers of migration and about the opportunities and perspectives they have in their home countries. In addition, the distorted image of the perfect Germany and Europe, which is burned in the heads of many Africans, must be removed.
Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria are all reform partners who are both economically relevant as well as „countries of origin“ at the center of the migration debate. Our Chancellor is very popular in Africa because of her refugee policy and the historic refugee decision of 2015.
Merkel promotes German investment in Africa: just over 1,000 of the approximately 400,000 companies that are active abroad are located in the continent, more than 600 of them just in South Africa. Therefore, the Chancellor is now appealing to German companies. The so-called German „Africa Year 2017“ has already produced a lot of benchmark papers, guidelines and cooperation initiatives. However, many companies are still very cautious because of ubiquitous corruption and legal uncertainty.
Merkel believes that development policy should be reconsidered and geared more towards economic policy. An example of the possibilities of economic cooperation is an agreement for the agricultural sector in Nigeria, which should facilitate access to credits, a major problem throughout West Africa. Young entrepreneurs especially often lack the opportunity to provide sufficient start-up capital. Another example concerns the production of automobiles, which would start with Volkswagen, and would also represent an important step for economic cooperation.
View this post on Instagram
Nigeria ist eines der wichtigsten Länder Afrikas und zugleich ein wichtiger Handelspartner für Deutschland, so Kanzlerin Merkel. Im Gespräch mit Nigerias Präsidenten Muhammadu Buhari sprachen beide über eine verstärkte Zusammenarbeit. — Nigeria is one of Africa's most important states. Chancellor Merkel says that it is also an important trade partner for Germany. She and Nigeria's President @MUHAMMADUBUHARI spoke about enhanced cooperation, e.g. in the energy sector. #nigeria
The topics of economy and migration are more closely related than you think. With this on-going economic policy, Africans should be convinced of the opportunities they have in their homeland and realize why it is not worth making the dangerous and risky journey to Europe. Nigeria’s President Buhari himself repeatedly emphasized that he opposes illegal migration and does not support it. The goal is not for Europe to isolate itself from Africa, but to create many more „perspectives for stay“. Nevertheless, Merkel says that training and study opportunities in Germany should also be expanded.
Whether there should be a repatriation agreement or not for Nigerians without residence permit and without staying prospects in Germany, was not answered clearly by Buhari. . Merkel wanted to negotiate in the sense of a „win-win“ situation, in which both sides have advantages. The legal possibilities of exchange would have to be improved as well. It is estimated that about 30,000 Nigerians will theoretically have to leave Germany. However, nor did the Chancellor specify exact numbers .
The talks with Senegal’s head of state Macky Sall in Darkar and Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra were similar: first, it was about migration to Europe, and then about economic offers. Unlike Nigeria, however, these countries are classified as safe countries of origin, so asylum applications are almost always rejected. Nevertheless, many Senegalese and Ghanaians wish to go to Europe.
View this post on Instagram
Kanzlerin #Merkel nach ihrem Gespräch mit Senegals Präsident @Macky_Sall in Dakar: Der Senegal ist ein offenes Land, das sich zum Multilateralismus bekennt und Verantwortung übernimmt. Dass sich junge Menschen auf den Weg von Afrika nach Europa machen, habe leider auch mit falschen Vorstellungen zu tun. Umso wichtiger sei es, dass die Menschen von staatlicher Seite richtigen Informationen erhielten. — Chancellor #Merkel after her talks with Senegal's President @Macky_Sall in Dakar: "Senegal is an open country that is committed to multilateralism and accepts responsibility. Unfortunately, the fact that young people are on their way from Africa to Europe has something to do with misconceptions. This makes it all the more important that people receive the right information from the state.
Sall demanded joint solutions so that young people stay on the continent and get a chance – it’s not so much about illegal migration and its dangers, but about preserving the dignity of Africa. The migration of many young Africans is a shame. For Senegal, therefore, a rural investment program and one to create jobs for young people have been developed. But the question of how Senegal can ensure that its approximately one thousand citizens, who live without a legal residence permit in Germany, return again, was also evaded by Sall in the same way as Buhari.
The Chancellor, however, would have liked the promise of the states to be more active in receiving citizens illegally residing in Germany. How uncomplicated it can be was shown in the past year after a CNN report on slave markets in Libyan refugee camps, when many African governments brought their citizens back home.
The Ghanaian president said his government would of course work with the German authorities to bring back the approximately 4,000 Ghanaians currently living in Germany without residence permits, but he was also sure that they would be „overjoyed“ if they could stay in Germany.
View this post on Instagram
Es ist der erste Besuch der Kanzlerin in Ghana, wo Präsident Nana Akufo-Addo sie zu Gesprächen empfängt. „Afrika, das sind 50 Länder mit unterschiedlichen Kulturen“, so die Kanzlerin. Zwischen den Ländern zu unterscheiden und zu wissen, was für jedes Land wichtig sei, helfe, damit „Afrika für uns auch schrittweise ein Gesicht“ bekomme. — First visit in Ghana for the Chancellor. President @nakufoaddo welcomes her. Merkel says that Africa consists of 50 states with diverse cultures. Distinguishing between the different states and knowing which certain meaning each one has, helps making them visible to us. #🇩🇪 #🇬🇭
Although Angela Merkel has not quite achieved what she wanted in the talks about illegal migration, one can nevertheless speak of a successful journey. Eventually, she got all three presidents‘ agreements regarding her ideas of elucidation about the perspectives for residence and the dangers of emigration. And concerning the economic perspective, she was at least able to make very satisfactory offers to the heads of state.