Germany’s development ministry launches new African Strategy
At a press conference on her ministry’s new Africa strategy on Tuesday, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze reaffirmed Germany’s claim to be much more involved in Africa than before. The 36-page paper, which is to become part of the German government’s Africa policy, is the result of a consultation process lasting several months with European and African representatives from youth, politics, business, civil society and academia. The new strategy comprises six priority themes: Sustainable Economic Development, Employment and Prosperity; Overcoming Poverty and Hunger and Building Social Protection; Health and Pandemic Prevention; Feminist Development Policy and Gender Equality; Rule of Law, Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance; and Peace and Security. The new Africa Strategy is thus thematically broader than its predecessor, the Marshall Plan with Africa. Linguistically, the document also takes a new direction, common interests are emphasised and many of the planned measures refer directly to African initiatives, especially to the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Another new aspect is the stronger involvement of German DC at the European level, especially in so-called Team Europe initiatives. A lot of investment is to be made in the areas of socio-ecological transformation of the economy, energy, digitalisation, agriculture and the promotion of political and economic participation of women and girls. In addition, special attention is to be paid to the creation of good jobs and prospects for the largest youth generation ever – half of Africa’s population is under 20 years of age – an additional 25 million jobs would be needed annually, according to the paper. Some old initiatives will also continue. Among others, the Compact with Africa, which was drafted in 2017 under the German G-20 presidency, is to be continued and developed together with its component, the Development Investment Fund.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister visits Sudan
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Sudanese military chief and de facto head of state Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met in Khartoum on Thursday to discuss measures to improve and develop bilateral relations, according to the ruling Sudanese Sovereign Council. This is the first time Prime Minister Abiy has travelled to Sudan since August 2020. There had already been a meeting between Abiy and al-Burhan in Ethiopia last October. This follows several years of strained relations between the two neighbouring countries. In particular, fighting between the Sudanese military and Ethiopian militias in the disputed border region of al-Fashaga, and which briefly led to the closure of the border after the Ethiopian military became involved in the summer of 2022, have worsened relations since the end of 2020. The influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan as a result of the Ethiopian civil war and the dispute over the construction and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) also caused tensions between the two countries. After the current meeting, al-Burhan declared that all disagreements regarding the dam had been resolved and that Sudan would benefit from the flow of the dam. Until now, Sudan, together with Egypt, which fears serious consequences for its water supply from the filling of the dam, had always insisted on the signing of a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia. However, talks between the three nations have always been inconclusive, while the filling of the dam has continued in phases since 2020. Referring to the border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia, al-Burhan said the aim was to reach a joint solution through dialogue and technical instruments. During his visit, Abiy also met other political figures, including those from the Forces for Freedom and Change coalition, who want to put an end to Khartoum’s ongoing military rule. This led to speculation that Abiy would again mediate in the inner-Sudanese conflict, which some analysts saw as a stab at Ethiopia’s rival Egypt. Only last week, Egypt extended an invitation to the various Sudanese factions to mediate in Cairo, but the Sudanese side turned it down. Meanwhile, on the ground, it did not sound like an attempt at mediation; Abiy indicated that Sudan could resolve its conflict between military rule and civilian forces on its own without external help.
In Other News
The Pan-African Film Festival, also known as “FESPACO,” will take place in Burkina Faso from February 25 to March 4 this year, despite the country’s present political climate, as the festival’s general delegate Alex Moussa Sawadogo on Wednesday. Aiming to promote African filmmakers and advance African cinema as a means of expression, education, and awareness, the film festival was founded in Burkina Faso in 1969. This year, the judges watched 1200 movies and finally selected 170 cinema, television shows, documentaries, and series for the 11 categories for the festival. Cameroon, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Algeria, and the Dominican Republic, which has just joined the class for the first time since the festival’s establishment, are among the nations that have entries in the film festival. In view of the recent political instability and growing security threats, Sawadogo seeks to contribute to facilitating peace and reconciliation throughout the region with this year’s edition of the largest pan-African film festival.