RealNews

Germany Steps Up its Presence in Africa

Not usually a focus of German foreign policy, relations with Africa are generating more interest in Berlin — not least as a result of the War on Terror. There’s no overlooking the sudden flurry of interest on the part of Germany’s statesmen. Berlin seems to have put German-African relations at the top of the agenda, with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder planning a trip in January 2004 and President Johannes Rau also set to visit soon. In early October, Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul spent four days in Kenya for top-level talks on corruption, constitutional reform, AIDS issues and Germany’s 25 million euros in financial aid. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, meanwhile, last week made a five-day visit to Mali, Namibia and South Africa. He was accompanied by Andreas Mehler, director of the Institute for African Affairs in Hamburg, who told Deutsche Welle that “Africa has never played a large role in Germany’s foreign policy.” “But I believe that the foreign minister will now take a number of positive impressions home with him from his trip, and that can’t hurt Germany’s policy on Africa, and it may well boost interest,” he said at the end of Fischer’s visit. Full Story

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