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Germany's development minister arrives in Mauritania

Saim Dušan Inayatullah
August 14, 2023

The head of Germany's development policy is to discuss the situation in Africa's Sahel region with high-ranking officials. Later, she will travel to Nigeria for talks on the Niger crisis with West African leaders.

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze leaving Luftwaffe plane in Nouakchott, accompanied by Mauritanian Economy Minister Abdessalem Ould Mohamed Sale
Germany's Svenja Schulze is visiting Mauritania to discuss Sahel regional developmentImage: Leon Kuegeler/photothek/IMAGO

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze arrived in Africa's Sahel region on Monday.

Her four-day trip began in Mauritania. She is expected to head to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Last month, the minister took over the presidency of the Sahel Alliance, which coordinates international cooperation for the development of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

Schulze is to discuss development issues with high-ranking ministers in Mauritania, which also holds the presidency of the G5 Sahel bloc of countries.

In Nigeria, Schulze is due to participate in talks with representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who are to discuss how to deal with the military coup that ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.

What did Schulze say before the trip?

Schulze called for better employment possibilities for young people in the region and social security policies aimed at preserving social cohesion.

Mauritania, a country with a population of around 4,6 million, has taken on 100,000 people from neighboring countries, including Mali. During her trip, Schulze is set to visit a registration center for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.

Germany's development minister said that preventing people in the region from slipping into poverty would help create a more stable society and undo the conditions that allow terrorist groups to thrive.

Multiple Sahel states have been grappling with Islamist insurgencies by groups such as the so-called "Islamic State," Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda for a little over a decade.

In a press conference prior to the trip, Schulze said that West African bloc ECOWAS plays a "decisive role in the search for a peaceful solution to the Niger conflict."

She said that the Sahel Alliance group would also work to support efforts towards a resolution of the conflict in Niger.

ECOWAS had previously said that it could intervene militarily in Niger in order to restore Bazoum's government.

Edited by: Natalie Muller