CW 35/2021: Need for action
Press Review 28 August 2021 to 3 September 2021

Compact with Africa Summit in Berlin

On 27 August, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited the heads of state and government of the participating African countries to the fourth G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) conference in Berlin. Launched in 2017 under the German G20 Presidency, the CwA initiative aims, among other things, to improve conditions for private investment and employment opportunities in Africa in cooperation with African partner countries. Members of the initiative are currently Ethiopia, Egypt, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia, with only Morocco not participating in this year’s conference. Other participants included the heads of state of South Africa, which co-chairs the initiative at G-20 level with Germany, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which currently holds the AU chairmanship. From Germany’s point of view, the CwA‘s results are mixed. Investments by German companies have not been significantly increased so far. In 2019, for example, 884 German companies were active on the African continent, only 42 more than in 2017 when the initiative was launched. At around 12 billion euros, German direct investments in Africa are significantly lower than those of other countries such as France (55 billion euros) or China (27 billion euros). In the last year and a half, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered efforts. Hence, it was one of the central topics to discuss at the hybrid meeting. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his disappointment that only 2% of the approximately 1.3 billion people on the African continent have been vaccinated, whereas 60% of the people in the Global North have already been vaccinated. He also reiterated his call for the lifting of patents to boost vaccine distribution and production. Overall, both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus was criticised as insufficient. Against this background, some heads of state and government, such as Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, took the opportunity during the summit to hold talks with the company Biontech/Pfizer on the procurement of further vaccines. This year’s meeting in Berlin was the last with Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor, who gave German Africa policy a special place, especially during her last term in office.

Possible postponement of elections in Libya brought into play

On Tuesday, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush indicated that the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 December 2021 could not be guaranteed to be held on time. Although the government had provided the electoral commission with the logistical and financial means to hold the elections, the constitutional basis for the polls remained unclear, she said. The draft of the new electoral law is already submitted to Parliament, but ratification has been delayed so far. The parliament is also currently unable to reach an agreement on the adoption of Libya’s budget. Al-Mangoush therefore indicated that meeting the election timetable would depend solely on parliament’s willingness to allow the electoral law to take effect. Voter registration has already been completed since mid-August, meaning that 2.8 million Libyans are expected to vote for the new government.  The timely holding of the elections is considered essential for the successful progress of the Libyan peace process. Accordingly, concerns are growing that the peace process will once again be put in jeopardy. The UN envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, had also warned on Monday that time was running out for preparations for the elections and therefore called for immediate action. The United Nations Security Council already urged the Libyan government in mid-July to clarify the constitutional basis for the 2021 elections. Libya’s neighbours, whose foreign ministers were meeting in Algier on Monday to discuss the security vacuum in the region, also expressed concerns about these developments. Against this backdrop, Libya announced that it would organise a consultative meeting of neighbouring countries and states of friendship in late September or early October, at which the issue of election security would be a top priority.

In other news

The Republic of Senegal finished fourth at the FIFA Men’s Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 held in Russia. The Senegalese team lost their semi-final game against Switzerland 9-7 at the Luzhniki Beach Soccer Arena in Moscow, having suffered a 5-2 defeat to Japan in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, this ranking made Senegal the first African team to make it to the late stage of the tournament. To reach the semi-finals, they pulled off a surprise 5-4 win over Brazil, the 14-time record winners of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. In May this year, Senegal had won the Beach Soccer Africa Championship 4-1 against Mozambique on home ground.

Event Announcement

The 27th Africa Alive film festival will take place in Frankfurt a. M. from the 1 to 9 September. Various African documentaries, feature films and short films on different topics will be shown at the German Film Institute and Film Museum (DFF) and the Filmforum Höchst. A special focus of this year’s festival is on productions from North Africa on the occasion of the anniversary of the Arab Spring.

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