The “Compact with Africa” initiative has been in existence since 2017. At that time it was launched by Germany. The leaders of the participating states are now meeting in Berlin.
The heads of state and government of numerous African states are coming to Berlin today to discuss closer economic cooperation with Europe. The main topics of the “Compact with Africa” (CwA) conference are strengthening private investments on the neighboring European continent and cooperation on sustainable energy supplies.
The conference is based on an initiative by Germany in 2017 during its chairmanship of the G20 group of countries. This aims to improve the economic conditions in the CwA states in order to make them more attractive for foreign private investments.
Bilateral talks planned
13 countries on the African continent now belong to the group of states: Egypt, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia. Other states are interested in joining. That’s why representatives from Angola, Kenya and Zambia are also coming to Berlin.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will also take part in the summit in Berlin.
According to government sources, the host, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), will also use the conference to hold several bilateral discussions with individual heads of state and government. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier invited the participants to lunch at Bellevue Palace.
Initiative has an impact
In Berlin it is admitted that even members of the “Compact with Africa” are not immune to setbacks such as civil wars, coups, the corona pandemic or the consequences of the war in Ukraine. On the other hand, the initiative is having an impact. The CwA countries have recovered significantly better from the economic consequences of the pandemic compared to the other African countries. Last year their economic growth was twice as high as that of other African countries. In 2022, the members would have achieved a sixfold increase in announced foreign direct investments compared to the previous year.
Conversely, Germany and Europe also benefit from this cooperation, as the Federal Government emphasizes. The African continent is rich in natural resources, which the German economy also needs and which can make it more independent from China and Russia, for example. This also applies to gas and oil reserves, which are needed as a transitional energy source. Even after the phase-out of fossil energy, the African continent is, according to Berlin’s interpretation, interesting due to its high potential for solar and wind power and the possibility of producing cheap green hydrogen.
Potential has not yet been sufficiently exploited
According to the Federal Government, the huge potential of the African continent has not yet been sufficiently exploited. However, this is also due to deficits in the rule of law and the protection of human rights, widespread corruption and practical problems such as the convertibility of currencies. The aim of “Compact with Africa” is to remove such obstacles.
Germany and Europe offer themselves as long-term, reliable partners who also want to create added value in African countries. In contrast, China, for example, was primarily interested in the exploitation of raw materials in the past, which it then processed further in its own country.
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