Visit to Africa

Germany will assist Cameroon in coping with the refugee crisis

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller, the Foreign Minister of Cameroon, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, and the German Ambassador to Cameroon, Klaus-Ludwig Keferstein (centre)

13.03.2015 |

Yaoundé – On his arrival in the capital of Cameroon on Thursday evening, Federal Minister Gerd Müller promised to assist the Cameroonian government in coping with the influx of refugees into the country’s poor northern provinces. The government is attempting to provide for at least 40,000 people who have fled there from Nigeria to escape the violent attacks of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram.

Minister Müller: "Cameroon is an island of stability in an instable region and as such has shown great solidarity in taking in refugees from neighbouring countries. Some 170,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have made their way to Cameroon and in the north of the country the flow of refugees from Nigeria shows no sign of stopping. We will not leave the people in Cameroon to cope with this crisis alone!"

Officials from aid organisations working in Cameroon briefed the delegation from Germany on the catastrophic situation. They reported that food and water are in short supply, the price of millet – a staple food in Cameroon – has doubled in the north, the security situation is very tense due to the fear of attacks by Boko Haram and the presence of military forces in the region, and economic activity in the border regions has ground to a halt. The Minister was informed that there have been repeated attacks by Boko Haram on Cameroon territory. Germany is providing 21.5 million euros to help Cameroon tackle the refugee crisis, with 6 million euros of that amount earmarked to help the people in the areas known as the Extreme North.

Cameroon will also be one of the partners with which Germany is going to develop an innovation centre for the agriculture and food sector. In this case the main focus will be on the cultivation of potatoes and cacao and on the processing of these products in Cameroon itself. Furthermore, the Development Ministry is stepping up its involvement in the forest protection sector. The Congo Basin is the second "lung of the Earth", the first being the Amazon rainforest; together they are world’s biggest CO2 sinks.

Minister Müller: "Any moves to generate an economic boom in Africa must be carried out in harmony with nature and not go against it. In order to achieve that, we want to offer our expertise and help ensure that Africa’s unique landscapes and biodiversity are conserved for the future."

Sustainability in global supply chains was also a topic during the first leg of the Minister’s African visit, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There Germany is supporting efforts to ensure that minerals mined in the country are certified. One example here is coltan, which is extracted in Congo and used for the production of mobile telephones all over the world. The economic exploitation of these resources is fraught with conflicts. Certification is meant to make it possible for information about the origin of these minerals and the social and environmental conditions under which they are extracted to be gathered and shared.

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