Europe and Africa - an equal and lasting partnership
Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a meeting at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin for high-ranking representatives of eleven African states and representatives of international organisations. The African states are members of the Compact with Africa Initiative.
Earlier in the day, the Chancellor and other conference participants had attended the G20 Investment Summit, which was hosted by the German African Business Association and the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI).
Compact with Africa Conference
Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed to the central idea of the Compact with Africa Initiative (CwA) - to work together to achieve a more enabling environment for investment and trade. "As well as making Africa more attractive to investors, it is about achieving fair trading relations between Europe and Africa," said Angela Merkel. "It is about talking with Africa, rather than talking about Africa."
The conference aims to take the Compact with Africa process to the next level and agree on measures to promote sustainable development in Africa. Targeted development cooperation is to help improve conditions for investment in CwA countries.
Account must be taken of the specific characteristics of each individual state. "That is why it is vital for every CwA state to accept ownership of reform measures and drive these forward to improve the investment climate," explained Angela Merkel.
At the same time, every state will have to express and communicate its own expectations, and lay out what support it needs on its individual road to reform.
Improving foreign trade promotion
Financing and measures to promote foreign trade were another focus of the conference. Instruments already launched are to be strengthened and better aligned to the conditions on the ground in Africa.
In the field of financing, ways are also being sought to improve supply and access in African states. These measures are to help the people in Africa to enjoy a secure future and give them prospects that are a reason to stay.
Germany's inputs are having an impact
Within the scope of the Initiative, which was launched last year under Germany's G20 Presidency, Germany is actively engaged in partnerships for reform with a number of different African states. The Chancellor stressed that Germany's inputs are already having an initial impact.
"Foreign direct investment in Africa as a whole has declined over the last few years, but CwA states have been able to buck this trend and have seen investment rise," said Angela Merkel.
In future, the German government will continue to promote investment in African states. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a package of measures designed to complement the Compact with Africa Initiative. They include:
- Founding a development investment fund for small and medium enterprises from Europe and Africa to finance loans and joint ventures, helping these businesses gain a foothold on new markets
- Guaranteeing exports and investments made by German companies in CwA states against political risks and payment risks
- Negotiating double taxation agreements with more African states
- Concluding new work and training partnerships with businesses and institutions in Africa, and promoting regional commercial and industrial estates
- Negotiating new bilateral partnerships for reform with Senegal, Morocco and Ethiopia.
G20-Africa Investment Summit - dialogue with business
The "G20 Investment Summit - German Business and the CwA Countries" provided the framework for a high-ranking dialogue between African and German government representatives and representatives of German businesses and their African CwA partners. Another focus was beacon projects of German companies and economic reform projects in African CwA partner countries.
Companies with investment projects in CwA countries or projects in other African states were able to position themselves and create greater awareness of their ongoing activities. Declarations of intent were also signed at the event.
Bilateral meeting with President al-Sisi
On the sidelines of the conference, the Chancellor met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Federal Chancellery. Egypt is an important partner within the Compact with Africa. She underscored the close and diverse relations that connect the two countries in the fields of business and culture, as well as development cooperation.
She also pledged the Egyptian President German support in addressing domestic policy challenges, including matters relating to population growth and the expectations that many young people have of obtaining a good education.
The Chancellor praised the efforts being made by Egypt to guard its own sea border, which are almost entirely preventing migration from Egypt to Europe. She pledged support for the country's economic reforms along with an untied financial loan of 500 million euros.