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Federal Minister: Schulze and Heil warn of Russia’s influence in Africa

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Russia apparently wants to increase its influence in Africa. Two German ministers are concerned on the ground – and want to counteract this with greater cooperation with the countries on the Gulf of Guinea.

Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil want to do more to combat Russian influence in Africa. The two SPD ministers emphasized on Thursday in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) that Russia’s war against Ukraine is having devastating effects in Africa. Germany therefore wants to expand its support for affected countries and, if possible, push back Russia’s influence there.

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“The shock waves of the war, the high prices for food, fertilizer and energy are also arriving here in West Africa and many other countries in the global south,” said Schulze in Agboville, Ivory Coast. Heil emphasized that inflation and higher wheat prices have caused problems for many people in Africa. The ministers will travel to Côte d’Ivoire until Friday, having previously been to Ghana.

“It wasn’t just an attack on Ukraine, it was also an attack on the world’s poorest,” said Schulze. Germany supports Ukraine with all its might, but also continues to expand aid and cooperation with the poorest countries. Heil emphasized “that this war is not a purely European one”. The majority of the international community is of the opinion “that Putin must not win”. The governments in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are “on the right side of history,” said Heil.

Schulze: “Trying to strengthen societies”

Schulze told the German Press Agency: “Russia is also active in Africa and is trying to destabilize entire regions.” There are reports that terrorism-stricken Burkina Faso, located in northern Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, brought the Russian Wagner mercenaries into the country. In addition, Russia is said to be operating there with targeted disinformation campaigns. Schulze said: “We are trying to strengthen and stabilize societies with our development offer.”

Schulze and Heil visited a cocoa plantation in Agboville on Thursday. They spoke to farmers and representatives of the local cooperative. One goal of their trip is to explore the effects of the German supply chain law. The law, which has been in force since the beginning of the year, stipulates that companies must comply with human rights, abstain from child labor and basic environmental standards throughout production – including cocoa production, for example.

Source: Stern

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