Content

Visit

"Economic progress must be sustainable – rain forests and biodiversity must be preserved"

Minister Gerd Müller departs for DR Congo, Cameroon and the Congo Basin


Street scene in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Open gallery gallery26145532_2../../../../../../de/mediathek/bildergalerien/20150315_kongo/Kongo_0010_thumb.jpgMichael Gottschalk/photothek.net Open gallery

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

Street scene in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Federal Minister for Development Dr. Gerd Müller meets Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kinshasa

Minister for Development Müller and Armand Diangienda, head of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste based in Kinshasa

Dish with a small amount of Coltan. This ore is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is an important raw material, for example for the production of mobile phones.

Federal Minister Müller holding a phone in his hand that has been made with certified raw materials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Street scene in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Minister Müller visiting members of the indigenous BaAka people

Young members of the indigenous BaAka people perform a theatre show

Visit to a national park: elephants in a clearing

Gorilla in a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The wire nooses that Minister Müller is holding were confiscated from poachers who had been using them for hunting

A member of the gorilla research project

Minister Gerd Müller and Johannes Kirchgatter, coordinator for Afrika at the World Wide Fund For Nature

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller in the rain forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

11.03.2015 |

Berlin – Federal Minister Gerd Müller leaves on a five-day visit to Africa at noon on Wednesday. First stop is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the largest country in Central Africa, seven times the size of Germany, and is considered key for the stability of the region. However, despite its wealth of natural resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Seventy per cent of the population is living below the absolute poverty line.

Commenting on his visit, Minister Müller said: "It is the aim of our work to help ensure that the Congo's rich resources are used for that country's own development, and that of its people. Government revenues and expenditure in the extractive sector must be transparent, and be used for the benefit of the people living there. The same applies to global value chains. It is unacceptable that the further processing of natural resources, which is what actually adds value, takes place entirely outside the countries where the resources are extracted. Our own insatiable appetite for resources must not be stilled on the backs of exploited adults and children working in the coltan mines. That is why I shall be enquiring about certified natural resources, for example those used to make what are known as 'Fairphones'."

Talks will also focus on the protection of tropical forests and the preservation of biodiversity in the Congo Basin. In Cameroon, the second stop on his trip, Minister Müller will also discuss the refugee situation caused by the tense situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the displacement of people in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram's activities there.

Cameroon is now sheltering some 170,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and more than 40,000 from Nigeria in the north of the country. Cameroon's northern province lies within the Sahel climate zone and is therefore one of the country's poorest areas. Since 2014, this part of Cameroon has also come under increasing attack from Boko Haram supporters.

Federal Minister Müller said: "In Germany, we are very moved by the plight of the people actually fleeing from the terror spread by Boko Haram. But the people in the northern province of Cameroon, who are already amongst that country's poorest inhabitants, are also severely affected by the impact of the clashes taking place in and near their region. That is why we are supporting Cameroon in its efforts to cope with the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the unstable situation in its neighbouring countries."

German is providing more than 21 million euros in total to help Cameroon tackle the refugee crisis. Some 6 million euros of that amount are currently being used to carry out relief measures for the people who have fled to Northern Cameroon to escape Boko Haram.

During his visit to Cameroon, Minister Müller will also initiate a new forest preservation programme. The Congo Basin contains the world's second largest rainforest, with its own distinct biodiversity. Half of all animals found in Africa live in the Congo Basin. Germany provides support to this region to help preserve its rainforests and biodiversity. Germany's partner countries in these efforts are not only the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon, but also the other members of the Central African forest commission, COMIFAC. Ten countries have joined this commission in order to preserve and protect their forests.

Referring to the forests in the region, Minister Müller said: "We must preserve the tropical rainforests, as they are the lungs of the world. These forests act as carbon sinks by binding carbon dioxide. That is why they have a crucial influence on the earth's climate. By preserving these forests, we have a much better chance of keeping the global temperature rise to within two degrees. In addition, afforestation in dry climate zones in particular makes a significant contribution to improving food supplies and thereby reducing poverty."

The trip to Africa will end with the German delegation visiting a trilateral nature conservation project in the region where the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic meet. Roughly 128 million people live in the Congo Basin. Of these, more than 30 million depend on the forests for their livelihoods. The forestry sector is therefore a major sector of the region's economies. However, because natural resources are being exploited, timber felled and wildlife poached illegally there, the rainforests and biodiversity in the region are under threat. In Cameroon alone, the area of forest land has shrunk by 20 per cent in the last two decades.

Shortlink for this press release

BMZ glossary

Close window

 

Share page