North Africa

Boosting Mediterranean cooperation, fostering investment in North Africa

Federal Minister Müller together with the Moroccan Minister for Trades and social Economy, Fatima Marouane, and trainees at a vocational school for trades in Fès

Press release of 29.02.2016 |

Tunis – Federal Minister Gerd Müller concluded his four-day visit to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia by focusing in his talks on a new trading partnership with Northern Africa.

Following his meeting with Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid, Minister Müller said: "We are working on a new Mediterranean trade and business partnership. We should not regard the Mediterranean Sea as a barrier separating us from North Africa; rather, it is a shared resource and a bridge that will bring us together in a successful partnership. 250 German companies are already doing business in Tunisia. We want to encourage more companies to do the same, and to spur further investments and economic development. Such an economic partnership with countries on this side of the Mediterranean will create jobs and prospects, in particular for the young people living in Northern Africa."

During his four-day visit to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Minister Müller held talks with numerous business leaders; promised education and training as well as business partnerships; and undertook to step up German support in innovative areas such as renewable energies, in academic education and in measures to help migrants from sub-Saharan Africa integrate in these North African countries.

Political talks also centred around what support could be provided through development cooperation to assist migrants returning home from Germany. Commenting on this, Minister Müller said: "Germany's programme of development cooperation can draw on proven structures that offer a wide range of options when it comes to helping people re-settle in their countries of origin."

In Rabat, the German delegation visited an integration centre set up with German support. The centre serves as a point of contact for migrants who have moved from sub-Saharan Africa to Morocco. Germany wants to help set up such welcome centres in a further ten municipalities, and to help Morocco integrate the tens of thousands of migrants who have come up from southern parts of Africa.

The BMZ will also provide a strong boost to the region's economy through its investment in the world's largest solar thermal power plant in Ouarzazate. Further cooperation in this area was concluded by Gerd Müller and Morocco's Energy Minister in an agreement which also promises investments from Germany's private sector in this important technology of the future.

In Algeria, Germany is involved in supporting the education of young people from all over Africa at the pan-African University of Tlemcen. Minister Müller visited the university to open a new institute there, which is to offer professional qualifications in renewable energy technologies.

During his visit to Tunisia, Minister Müller discussed ways and means of reviving the country's tourism industry, which had experienced a severe downturn in bookings following the terrorist attacks. He also discussed plans for greater cooperation between Germany and Tunisia in the digital sector.

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