ANGELA Merkel the German Chancellor has urged rich western nations to support African development in order to stem mass migration to Europe from the continent.
Addressing African leaders from Guinea, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Tunisia in Berlin yesterday, Merkel said promoting economic growth and tackling poverty across Africa was in the interest of the whole world.
She said: “If we don’t give young people any prospects, if we don’t invest in education and qualifications, if we don’t strengthen the role of girls and young women, the development agenda won’t succeed.”
She noted that if young Africans have no hope in their own countries they’ll feel compelled to seek a life elsewhere.
“By working together with you for your countries, we will create more security for ourselves” and put people smugglers out of business,” Merkel added.
Last year, around 4,220 African men, women and children drowned in the southern Mediterranean sea while attempting to reach Europe on unseaworthy rubber dinges, boats and fishing trawlers supplied by people smugglers.
Germany is due to host the G20 summit in Hamburg on 7–8 July and political analysts say Merkel’s remarks yesterday might indicate her intention to drum up support for Africa among the rich nations of the world.
Merkel invited the African leaders to Berlin to discuss a so-called “compact with Africa” to help finance countries’ development needs.
German has agreed to “reform partnerships” with Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Ghana, as part of a planned investment of up to 300 million euros ($335 million) to help African nations.
German’s development ministry said the program aims to expand the use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and develop the financial and banking sector.
However, analysts say the fact that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reached their expiration date 15 years after they were created, without most of that programme being fulfilled, indicates a lack of total serious commitment among rich nations to help pooere regions of the world.
While steady economic growth and macroeconomic progress has been made in several African countries over the past 15 years, much of that has been confined to the private sector. Telecommunications, finance, retail trade, housing and construction have notched the biggest growth and contributed to the increased spending power of Africa’s middle class.
However, In most African countries, economic growth has not benefited the poorest, and women’s participation in decision-making remains very low. Rapid urbanisation is also a time bomb in waiting given that African cities are unable to provide services such as housing, security, infrastructure and jobs.
As things stand now, 20% of people unemployed in sub-Saharan Africa are youths. Projections are that by 2020, 250 million Africans will face water shortage and by 2050 sub-Saharan Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion mouths to feed.