Development Minister Schulze in Rwanda
Development Minister Svenja Schulze departed Monday for her first, four-day official trip to the African continent, which took her to Rwanda. Here, she met with President Paul Kagame, Finance Minister Uzziel Ndagijimana, Health Minister Daniel Ngamije and Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Jeannette Cayisenge. She also met with representatives of civil society and local organizations. A thematic focus of the visit was the German support for the development of Rwanda’s own vaccine production. The East African country is one of the African countries, along with Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, where the BioNTech vaccine production containers are to be set up. The BMZ is supporting the successful establishment of vaccine production with 35.7 million euros for the training of the necessary skilled workers and the strengthening of the relevant regulatory authorities. The second thematic focus was the joint commitment against the climate crisis. In this context, Schulze signed the German-Rwandan Climate and Development Partnership with the Rwandan Finance Minister on Tuesday. Financing contributions of 56 million euros are to be provided for the concrete implementation of the partnership. In the context of her own political focus on a “feminist development policy,” Schulze also held talks on gender equality and women’s policy with Rwandan decision-makers. Rwanda is a pioneer in this area and, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, ranks one place ahead of Germany as the ninth most successful country in implementing gender equality worldwide. Anchored in the Rwandan constitution, gender equality is reflected in the high proportion of women in political and economic leadership positions. But despite the many positive developments, Schulze stressed that in her role as development minister she would also address critical points in the future and would not close her eyes to deficits in democratic development and the granting of civil rights. Germany is Rwanda’s third-largest bilateral donor and supports the African country primarily in the areas of climate and energy, good governance, education and sustainable economic development.
New transitional government in Burkina Faso
After holding a ‘National Forum’ earlier this week, an official transitional government has been in power in Burkina Faso since this Wednesday. The National Forum, which took place on Monday in the capital Ouagadougou, was attended by 350 people, including representatives of political parties, trade unions, civil society and the military junta that overthrew democratically elected President Roch Marc Kaboré at the end of January under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Paul-Henri Damiba. The meeting discussed the junta’s transition roadmap and signed an agreement as early as Tuesday that provides for a three-year transition period before democratic elections are to be held. It was also agreed that Damiba would be officially installed as interim president, while the transitional government would consist of 25 members. Neither Damiba nor the members of the transitional government may run as candidates in the elections after 36 months. In addition to the transitional government, there is to be a transitional assembly with 71 members to support the government. Damiba was already sworn in on Wednesday, and he announced the appointment of a civilian prime minister on Thursday. Development economist and professor Albert Ouedraogo will lead the government’s fortunes together with Damiba on a transitional basis. The new government’s main goals are to fight terror and corruption in the West African nation. Since 2016, some 2,000 people have died in terrorist attacks by Islamist groups, and 1.5 million people have been internally displaced. The government under Kaboré had also lost control over parts of the country, which the new government now wants to reclaim. The new transitional government also wants to fight corruption through administrative reforms and increased controls. Opposition leader Eddie Komboïgo of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party also expressed his agreement with the results of the National Forum. The West African regional organization ECOWAS has not yet commented, but had suspended the country after the January coup and called for it to present a transition roadmap. Compared with coups in two neighboring countries, Mali and Guinea, however, Burkina Faso had not been subject to ECOWAS sanctions.
In other news
Last Wednesday and Thursday, the first African Clowns Congress took place in Cameroon. For this, comedians, clowns, jugglers and other artists traveled to Douala to the French Cultural Institute. There are only a handful of clown companies in the host country, but some of the young and old clowns are committed to making clowning better known in Cameroon and on the African continent as a whole and to establishing it in the cultural scene. For example, one of the participating artists, Féfé the Clown, trains the next generation in educational workshops at schools in Douala. At the end of the school year, the children present to their parents the comedic talent they have inside them.