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Migration

Germany boosts African aid to curb irregular migration

The new funds will help would-be migrants in their African home countries, said Germany's foreign minister. The latest contribution pushes Berlin's humanitarian budget to 1.28 billion euros for 2016.

Berlin on Monday pledged to raise its contributions to the UN refugee agency by 61 million euros ($67.44 million) in a bid to curb the number of African migrants attempting the perilous journey to Europe.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the contribution upgrade after meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in the nation's capital.

Berlin's latest move to curb irregular migration to the EU has brought its total contribution to UNHCR to 298 million euros ($329 million) this year, making its total budget for humanitarian efforts 1.28 billion euros, up from 105 million euros in 2012.

Foreign ministry officials said the aid was expected to benefit people in Burundi, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and neighboring countries, alongside those living in areas impacted by the Boko Haram militant group's insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

"These countries urgently need our help. The money will allow people to be cared for near their homes so they don't have to make the dangerous journey to Europe," Steinmeier said.

"The situation in these countries has been dramatically exacerbated by the recent escalation of existing conflicts or the break out of new conflicts and climate-related natural catastrophes," Steinmeier added.

Contingency plans

The increase in funds to aid refugees and internally displaced persons forms part of a plan to address the needs of possible migrants in their homeland. However, German authorities have explored further options to impede irregular migration to Europe.

Earlier this week, Germany's interior minister said he had reviewed plans to prevent migrants from reaching the 28-nation bloc by intercepting migrants at sea, and returning them to their home countries.

Some 890,000 migrants entered Germany in 2015, many of them fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

ls/jm (Reuters, KNA)

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