Dialogue with the Global South Development Minister Schulze visits African Union in Addis Ababa

Press release 26 April 2022 | ADDIS ABABA – Germany's Development Minister Svenja Schulze will visit the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today. Schulze will meet for talks with Commissioners in order to discuss the effects of the war in Ukraine on the food security situation in Africa; the pandemic response on the continent of Africa; the introduction and expansion of the African Free Trade Zone; and joint efforts to build peace and security in Africa.

Logo of the African Union

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said: “In Africa, too, the dramatic consequences of Russia's war of aggression are making themselves painfully felt. Whenever food and energy prices go up, existing hunger crises are exacerbated. I want to convey a clear message to the African Union that, whilst Germany is providing support for Ukraine, it has not forgot its partners in the Global South. Food security is a shared concern for the African Union and the German government. The food crisis must not lead to the destabilisation of large parts of Africa.”

Many African countries are highly dependent on imports of grain from Ukraine and Russia. Consequently, there is the danger of food shortages and massive price increases. These, in turn, can plunge many people into hunger and lead to political destabilisation. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, some 13 million people are already threatened by severe famine because the Horn of Africa is suffering its worst drought in almost forty years. Experts are calling this a “compound crisis”, since, in the years before the current drought, entire swathes of land were devastated by swarms of locusts. Local conflicts are exacerbating the situation and the savings that people there had put by were largely used up during the COVID-19 pandemic. If there is not sufficient rainfall soon, up to 26 million people living in the Horn of Africa could face acute famine.

While in Addis Ababa, Minister Schulze also intends to discuss the Tigray conflict with the Ethiopian government. The conflict in Tigray has led to hunger and displacement and has brought with it serious human rights violations. Ethiopia is also facing other great challenges. For example, in the parts of the country affected by drought, the consequences of climate change are becoming more and more visible and tangible.

Schulze said, “Ethiopia used to be a shining example of successful economic and democratic transformation. Today we see a country that, regrettably, has been thrown back years – if not decades – by war and violence as well as the dramatic consequences of climate change. In my meetings today, I will appeal to the government of Ethiopia to do everything in its power to ensure that sufficient emergency aid is let through to the people living in the north of Ethiopia, and that a viable political solution is found to the Tigray conflict and for the future of the country. Furthermore, I shall express my expectation that the horrific human rights violations that have been committed are investigated rigorously.”

View of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia

In view of the violent conflict in the region of Tigray and the growing number of people there threatened by hunger and poverty, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has adjusted the focus of its development cooperation with Ethiopia. The BMZ is now largely supporting measures that directly help improve food and nutrition security and create decent employment opportunities in the agricultural sector and the textiles industry. Support is also going to measures that ease the plight of the many refugees and internally displaced persons in Ethiopia.