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Visit to Africa

Silberhorn visits Kenya and Ethiopia: Focus on urban development and on the role of religion in conflict


Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

17.04.2015 |

Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn is currently spending four days in Kenya and Ethiopia. His visit to Kenya focused primarily on urban development. Today, his delegation arrived in Ethiopia, where the focus will be on the role of religion in conflict.

Silberhorn said, "Killing in the name of religion must be stopped. This is very evident from the attack on Garissa University in north-eastern Kenya two weeks ago. The Kenyan government is now considering closing Dadaab refugee camp in response. This would leave 350,000 refugees homeless. So we urgently need a new dialogue between the government and moderate religious leaders. Religion must no longer be used as a pretext for terrorism, or to legitimise violence."

In this context, Silberhorn will also be taking part in the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, which will be held in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on Saturday. Its topic will be "Secularism and politicised faith". The Tana Forum was established at the initiative of the African Union in 2012, modelled on the Munich Security Conference. The BMZ is providing advice to the Forum through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. The Forum meets once a year and is attended by numerous African heads of state and government.

On Thursday, Silberhorn represented Germany at the preparatory meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, for Habitat III, the third global human settlements conference, which is to be held in October 2016.

Silberhorn said, "Worldwide, there are already more people living in urban areas than in rural areas. The UN estimates that, by 2030, the share of urban dwellers will exceed 60 per cent. So we need to recognise that cities and municipalities are key players for development. The envisaged New Urban Agenda needs to be in line with the vision of liveable cities, and it needs to advance creative answers that transcend disciplines and administrative boundaries."

At Habitat III, a New Urban Agenda is to be adopted to serve as a global action plan for the next 20 years to foster sustainable urban development.

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