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Senegal, Niger, Rwanda

Increasing opportunities for the future, strengthening the prospects for those who remain

Development Minister Müller in Africa


Development Minister Müller visiting a non-governmental development project in Senegal

Press release of 08.08.2016 |

Berlin – Providing even more support for the African nations that are countries of origin and transit countries for refugees, and creating more and better prospects for young people in our neighbouring continent – that is the main focus of the five-day visit beginning today that Federal Minister Gerd Müller is making to West and Central Africa.

In addition to Senegal and Rwanda, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development will also visit Niger. This West African nation, one of the poorest countries in the world, is one of the main transit countries for people heading towards Libya with the aim of crossing the Mediterranean and getting to Europe.

"We have a shared responsibility,” Minister Müller said, "to make sure that thousands of people do not attempt to make the potentially fatal journey through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean. Together with our African partners we need to invest more in schools, training and employment for the young generation in Africa. If we can’t manage to resolve the problems in these countries, then the problems will come to us.”

In Senegal, the first stop on the three-country visit, Germany is active above all in the renewable energy sector. There are 2.7 million people in Senegal who get their electricity from renewable energy sources, including people living in remote rural areas. A particularly successful intervention is a programme to train young people in occupations concerned with renewable technologies. Training courses have been developed and 14 public sector vocational schools are receiving support.

In Niger, Minister Müller wants to get a first-hand impression of the refugee situation in the desert city of Agadez. The city is on the route for 90 per cent of refugees and migrants from West and Central Africa – last year 120,000 people – who continue on into the Sahara and to Libya in order to cross the Mediterranean and get to Europe. New EU programmes are meant to provide advisory services and programmes for refugees returning to their home countries.

"The international community needs to look at how it can channel its efforts and its support more towards tackling the absolute root causes of refugee flows in Africa. This means, in addition to addressing climate change and the resultant famines, ensuring that the people in Africa are able to enjoy a fair share of the benefits deriving from the exploitation of the continent’s resources. We cannot continue to enjoy our way of life at the expense of people who are being exploited in mines or on plantations. We need to achieve a fair balance so that the people in Africa also have the opportunity to enjoy a better life."

In addition to German support in the fields of renewable energy, vocational training, agriculture and health, the agenda for the visit also includes anti-corruption measures and strengthening domestic public financing capacities. In Rwanda – a positive example for reforms and development successes – a court of auditors ensures visible results in the fight against corruption.

Minister Müller will conclude his trip with a visit to the Kigali Memorial Centre in Gisozi. The Centre is a centrally located monument to the more than 800,000 people who died as a result of the acts of genocide committed during the civil war in Rwanda 22 years ago.

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