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Kenya’s President Ruto in Berlin
On the occasion of the 9th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, Kenya’s President William S. Ruto travelled to Berlin on Sunday for a two-day visit, where he was welcomed with military honours by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday. On Tuesday, Ruto also met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between Kenya and Germany, particularly in the areas of climate, economic, development and security policy. In addition to the long-standing diplomatic relations, which celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, Germany and Kenya also look back on continuous trade relations. The core topic of the visit, however, was energy and environmental policy: Germany and Kenya already signed a climate and development partnership worth 112 million euros on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Egypt at the end of 2022 to promote the expansion of energy sources, projects in the field of electric mobility and the green hydrogen economy in Kenya. This partnership is now to be expanded, as German Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced after a meeting with President Ruto. Kenya, which already obtains more than 90 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable energies and is thus a pioneer in Africa, will also use green hydrogen for climate-neutral fertiliser production in the future, which will simultaneously decrease its dependence on fertiliser imports. At the 9th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD), a two-day conference organised by the German government, Ruto emphasised in his opening speech the central role of Africa in the successful implementation of the energy transition. If the necessary investments were made now on a sufficient scale, Africa could provide access to energy for everyone by 2030, while reducing overall emissions related to energy production by about 80 percent. At the same time, he recalled that 30 to 40 percent of the world’s raw materials needed for the energy transition come from Africa and called for closer cooperation and innovative financing to avoid debt traps. At a dinner organised by the German Africa Foundation, members of the German Bundestag and other representatives from politics and business met with President Ruto and other Kenyan cabinet members to discuss the future of German-Kenyan relations, opportunities for cooperation and the domestic political situation in Kenya. As in other African countries, the latter is currently characterised by protests against the government and inflation in the country, which are continuing this week.
US Vice President Kamala Harris on Africa tour
On Sunday, US Vice President Kamala Harris left for a week-long African trip to Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, already the fifth high-ranking member of the US government to do so this year. On the first leg of her trip, Harris met Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday. The conversation focused on current challenges such as improving food security, climate change, rising inflation on the continent and the regional security situation. Harris then pledged further US support: in addition to the already announced 139 million US dollars that the US plans to provide to Ghana in the 2024 budget year for economic and cultural development, the US will provide a total of 100 million US dollars to the West African coastal countries of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo to combat instability and violence by armed (jihadist) groups, Harris announced. At the end of her stay in Ghana, she also announced on Wednesday at a meeting with women entrepreneurs and business leaders that one billion US dollars of private sector funds will be made available through the African Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative to improve the economic empowerment of women in Africa.
In Tanzania, Harris met Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in the economic capital of Dar es Salaam on Thursday. Both emphasised the common goal of strengthening economic relations and increasing economic investment in Tanzania. There is, for example, a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the Government of Tanzania to provide up to 500 million US dollars in financing to help US companies export goods and services to Tanzania, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, digital technology, climate and energy security, and power generation. Other topics discussed included the two countries’ new partnership in 5G technology and cybersecurity, and a US-backed plan by LifeZone Metals to open a new processing plant in Tanzania for nickel and other minerals used in batteries for electric vehicles. On Friday, Harris travelled on to Zambia, the co-host of the just-concluded Democracy Summit in Washington DC. There, according to officials from Lusaka, bilateral talks with President Hakainde Hichilema and the signing of far-reaching bilateral agreements on climate resilience and food security are planned. Kamala Harris’ trip comes just weeks after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia and Niger, and is part of the world power’s increased efforts to reach out to the continent, which many observers see as stemming from the geopolitical rivalry between China, Russia and the US.
Moroccan boxer Khadija El Mardi won the gold medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships held in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday. She defeated her opponent from Kazakhstan, Kongibayeva Lazat, who won the women’s world title in 2016, in the heavyweight (over 81 kg) final. The victory makes the Moroccan national champion, who has already won a number of titles in her career, including the 2022 African Champion title, the silver medal at the 2022 World Championships and this year’s Mohammed VI Trophy gold medal, the first ever Arab and African female boxing world champion.