KW 38: Merkel and Kurz want more cooperation with Africa, Rwanda releases Victoire Ingabire, Sudan’s President Bashir dissolves government

– NEWS –

Merkel and Kurz want more cooperation with Africa: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz want to better coordinate their Africa policies to address root causes of migration and flight. Kurz invited the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to an Africa summit in Vienna in December. The summit will center around economic cooperation rather than migration. Regarding the border protection agency Frontex, the aim will be to stop boats with refugees and migrants from even taking off.,

Rwanda releases Victoire Ingabire: Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and over 2,000 others were released in a surprise move on Saturday, following a cabinet meeting on Friday when a presidential mercy order was approved. President Paul Kagame and his government, which has a record of suppressing dissent and jailing critics, gave no indication what prompted them to free the prisoners, whose detention had drawn international condemnation. The opposition, ethnic Hutu leader, Ingabire has been in jail since 2010 when she returned from exile in the Netherlands to run for president. Instead she was arrested and charged with terrorism and treason. She was given a ten year sentence for „genocide ideology“ and „divisionism“ after she raised questions over the 1994 genocide of mostly Tutsi people which left 800,000 people dead. Ingabire called on Kagame to release other political prisoners. Hundreds more are believed to be behind bars.,

Sudan’s President Bashir dissolves government: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has dissolved the country’s government amidst an increasingly dire economic crisis. With the approval of the ruling National Congress Party, Bashir fired all 31 cabinet ministers including Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh. The former irrigation minister Moutaz Mousa Abdallah is Bashir’s new pick for prime minister, and will be tasked with forming the new, smaller cabinet. Although the conflict-ridden country recorded growth of about 6 percent between 1998 and 2008, it lost much of its oil reserves when South Sudan became independent in 2011. Hopes that Washington would lift some sanctions against the Sudanese government would boost the economy have also proven futile. Inflation has reached an astronomical 65 percent.

Ethiopia and Eritrea open border: Ethiopia and Eritrea have reopened crossing points on their shared border, clearing the way for trade between the two countries. Celebrating their dramatic diplomatic thaw, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea officially opened the border where a bloody war and ensuing tensions had divided them for decades. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki visited the Bure Front along with members of their militaries to mark the Ethiopian new year. The two then opened the border post for road transport connectivity and would shortly do the same at the Serha-Zalambesa crossing. Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, and war broke out later that decade. The turning point came in June, when Abiy announced that Ethiopia would fully accept and implement a peace agreement that was signed in 2000 but never honored.,

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Europe’s plan for Africa: EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced „a new pact with Africa“ in his State of the Union speech. In the next budget period, the EU budget for Africa is to be increased to 40 billion euros. Investments by private investors are to be made easier with risk guarantees. The investment banks of the various EU member countries and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will also be involved. The External Investment Programme (EIP) promises to leverage 44 billion of investment euros, predominantly in Africa, by 2020. The EIB has been steadily expanding its operations in East Africa in recent years. Over the next five years, the Alliance for Africa aims to create 10 million jobs, vocational training for 750,000 people, and benefits for more than 100,000 students in the Erasmus exchange program.,

Call for more German engagement: According to the German Investment and Development Association (DEG), German companies are still reluctant to invest in Africa. „We can only help German companies if they decide to invest in a developing country“, said Christiane Laibach, spokeswoman for the management of the association. „German companies are in a good position to export to other EU countries or to China. The pressure to work in Africa is not big enough for them.“ She has called on policymakers to point out the great opportunities present on the continent. Taxation also poses a problem. „Out of more than 50 African countries, Germany has reached double taxation agreements with only 13 of them,“ said Ljubljana. If a German company invests in an African country, it is therefore taxed both there and in Germany.


Only one quarter of all people in Africa drink alcohol – often because of a Muslim background. As a result, Africa is seen as the market of the future for international alcohol companies – especially since sales in Europe and the US have stagnated.


„Africa is still, apart from India, the least developed beer market worldwide. The glass is only half full, so to speak. This means: Africa and India will become increasingly important for Heineken in the long term.“

Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer is raving about the opportunities in the African market.


Africa’s schools need more lessons in local languages: Africa south of the Sahara is home to around 2,000 different languages. But the languages taught and spoken at school are relics of the colonial era and many children, especially those in rural settings, enter the all-English, French or Portuguese language schools with little prior knowledge. „If you want to find a measure to prevent children from learning, you have already found that by teaching in a language that they don’t hear around them,“ said Norwegian education expert Birgit Brock-Utne. According to UNESCO’s „Global Education Monitoring Report 2016,“ teaching in the mother tongue is vital, especially at a primary school level. It recommends that children should be taught in their mother tongue for at least six years, to avoid knowledge gaps and increase the speed at which children learn and understand the taught material. But change is happening slowly. In Nigeria, there are over 500 local languages, but teaching mainly takes place in English. A pilot project is currently introducing the most widely-spoken languages Haussa, Yoruba and Igbo into the curriculum in primary schools.

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