Press Review CW 47/2023: Of farewells and reunions
Press Review 17 November 2023 to 24 November 2023

Compact with Afrika – Summit in Berlin

This Monday, the fifth Compact with Africa (CWA) Summit of the G20 took place in Berlin. On Monday afternoon, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz invited high-ranking government representatives from a total of 18 African countries and of the G20-states to the Chancellery. The summit focussed on strengthening private investment in African countries and cooperation in the area of sustainable energy supply. Scholz emphasised that Africa is Germany’s partner of choice for the joint deepening of economic relations and the path towards a green energy transition. Direct investment in African countries currently accounts for less than 1% of total German investment – so there is still room for improvement, said the Federal Chancellor. For this reason, the German government has already lowered the inhibition threshold for private investment and decided on more favourable guarantee conditions as part of its recently adopted diversification strategy. At the summit, Mr Scholz also called for partners in the production of green hydrogen. Germany will also contribute four billion euros to the EU-Africa Green Energy Initiative by 2030. The Chancellor also emphasised the success of the CwA: the CwA members are expected to achieve average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.6 per cent in 2023, which is well above the average for Africa as a whole of around 3.2 per cent. Azali Assoumani, who attended the summit as the current chairman of the African Union (AU), which has also been a permanent member of the G20 since September, spoke out in favour of extending the CwA to all African countries. At the same time, he expects more support from the G20 partners for the reform demands of the African states, which are in favour of a restructuring of the international financial architecture and an inclusive global economic order. The high levels of debt in many African countries, which have worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, and high interest rates are currently standing in the way of mobilising capital for African economies. Prior to the summit in the Chancellery, Federal President Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier invited guests to Bellevue Palace and stressed the importance of cooperation between the African and European Union (EU). Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner also took part and used the opportunity to talk to his African counterparts about the necessary framework conditions for increasing private investment and mobilising domestic resources. The fourth G20 Investment Summit, which was organised by the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI), also took place in the morning. Here, the African delegations met with German company representatives. Scholz, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Dr Robert Habeck and the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, were also present. The latter also hosted a side event on Tuesday, which primarily focussed on investments in young start-ups in Africa. In addition, numerous bilateral meetings took place on the fringes of the summit, both at government and business level. Nigeria, which expressed its interest in the CwA and whose President Bola Tinubu was invited to the summit as an observer, was able to sign two memoranda of understanding with German companies on Tuesday. The Nigerian company Riverside LNG, in cooperation with the equity group Johannes Schuetze Energy Import AG, is to supply 850,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year to Germany. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2026. Union Bank also reached an agreement with the German DWS Group in the area of renewable energies totalling USD 500 million to finance renewable energy projects, particularly in rural regions of Nigeria. The CwA initiative was launched in 2017 under Germany’s G20 presidency. Apart from Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia, it also includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the most recent member. In addition to Nigeria, the presidents of Zambia and Kenya, Hakainde Hichilema and Dr William Ruto, as well as a delegation from Angola attended as observers. France’s President Emmanuel Macron, the outgoing Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council President Charles Michel and AU Commission President Moussa Faki Mahamat travelled to the summit from the G20 side.

Change of government in Liberia

On Monday, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Head of the National Elections Commission (NEC), declared challenger Joseph Boakai the winner of Liberia’s presidential election. Based on the official results, the 78-year-old candidate running for the Unity Party (UP) won the run-off election with a narrow majority of 50.64% of the votes, defeating George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), the former world footballer and incumbent president since 2017, who received 49.36% of the votes. At around 66%, voter turnout among the 2.4 million eligible voters was significantly lower than in the first round of voting (79%). Weah had already publicly acknowledged his election defeat last Friday evening after around 99% of the votes had been counted and used the opportunity to congratulate his opponent Boakai on his election success. At the same time, he called on his supporters to also accept the defeat and warned of a split in the country in view of the close election result. In his first official speech after the election victory on Wednesday, Boakai also appealed to the Liberian people to create unity and rebuild the country together. The president-elect, who will take over the country’s destiny in January, also announced the appointment of a transition team to ensure a smooth and peaceful change of government. Weah’s concession of electoral defeat and his appeal for a peaceful transition of power were widely recognised internationally. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the Commission of the African Union (AU), congratulated Boakai on his election victory and praised Weah’s “statesman” attitude and admission of the defeat. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) emphasised that Liberia had proven that democracy and a peaceful transition of power were possible in West Africa against the backdrop of numerous unconstitutional transfers of power in the region. US President Joe Biden also commented favourably on Weah’s diplomatic acceptance of the election results, while US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller called on all Liberian citizens to follow the former president’s example. The election observation missions of the European Union (EU) and ECOWAS assessed the elections as fair and largely peaceful – however, there were isolated clashes, which fuelled fears of possible outbreaks of violence in the event of a close election result. The run-off was the second round of the presidential elections after neither Weah, who was still narrowly in the lead with 43.83% at the time, nor Boakai (43.44%) were able to secure an absolute majority in the first round of voting on 10 October, which is required for election as president according to the constitution (Press review CW 42/2023). The political veteran Boakai, who was already Vice President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from 2006 to 2018 and will now govern the country until 2029, faces the task of uniting the politically divided country after the close election result and creating stability and boosting the economy after years of civil war (1989 – 2003) and its aftermath.

In other news

On Saturday, the South African Music Awards (SAMA) took place in Pretoria. The 29th edition of the music award honoured South African singer Ntokozo Mbambo as female artist of the year for her album Lavish Worship, while rapper AKA, who passed away this year, was named best male Artist of the year for his posthumously released album Mass Country. A total of 29 musicians were awarded in 35 different categories this year – with DJ Kabza de Small winning four categories. He received the award for the best-produced album and the best Amapiano and Kwaito album. He and his colleague DJ Maphorisa were named the best music duo of 2023. In the Rest of Africa category, which honours African artists outside of South Africa, Mozambique-born saxophonist Moreira Chonhuica won with his jazz album Sounds of Peace. The South African Music Awards, held since 1995, are considered South Africa’s highest award for achievements in the field of music and annually honour artists of various genres.

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