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Merkel wants more investment, more jabs for Africa

August 27, 2021

At the German-Africa summit in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged businesses make better use of Africa's potential in areas such as renewable energy.

Merkel at the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) meeting in Berlin
Merkel is meeting with African leaders during the two-day G20 Africa partnership investment conferenceImage: Michele Tantussi/REUTERS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday talked with leaders of 12 African nations that are part of the Compact with Africa initiative, some of whom tuned in virtually to the Berlin summit.

At the meeting, Merkel promoted economic cooperation with Africa and stressed the importance of containing the spread of COVID on the continent.

She appealed for more German investment in Africa, particularly in the renewable energy sector. 

"Africa has so much market potential, but we need to make better use of it," Merkel said at the conference.

Expansion of renewable energy investment "is of enormous importance for us to achieve our global climate goals," the German chancellor added.

Merkel said that she realized during her trips to Africa that it's a "continent of opportunities and ideas" and a "continent with promising growth markets and with many, many committed young people."

Moussa Faki, the head of the African Union Commission, has praised Merkel for the initiative, telling DW that the outgoing chancellor succeeded in giving "an important impetus to Germany's presence in Africa." 

Controlling COVID necessary for economic recovery

The leaders also talked about the COVID-19 situation in Africa. Merkel said keeping the health emergency under control was essential for economic recovery, and that it would require an increase in global vaccine production and a "fair distribution of vaccines."

She also called on boosting Africa's own vaccine production. Her statements follow those made by Stefan Liebing, the head of the Africa Association of German Business, who also called on the German government to help African countries with vaccine supplies. 

"We should work bilaterally and give more vaccines to Africa," Liebing was quoted as saying by Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

German vaccine maker BioNTech said this week that it is seeking to establish an mRNA vaccine production facility in Africa.

The company said it is working with partners to "evaluate how to establish sustainable mRNA manufacturing capabilities on the African continent to supply African countries with vaccines."

Only 1% of German investments goes to Africa

Despite the push from Berlin to boost German-African business ties, trade and investment links remain modest.

From 2017 to 2019, German investments in Africa grew by about €1.57 billion ($1.84 billion), a moderate increase.

However, the continent still only receives 1% of all German investments worldwide.

Furthermore, most German companies still do not view Africa as an attractive investment destination, with just 884 firms investing in Africa in 2019.

sri/dj (dpa, AFP)