German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted African leaders on Tuesday October 30, 2018, pledging a new development fund to tackle underdevelopment on the continent that has helped to spur mass migration, shaping the later years of her long premiership.
Merkel announced on Monday she would retire from politics by 2021, sending shockwaves across Europe and starting a race to succeed her.
She needs the Compact with Africa summit to show that progress has been made in addressing the aftermath of one of the defining moments of her 13 years in power: her 2015 decision to open Germany’s doors to more than a million refugees.
The Berlin summit, attended by 12 leaders including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, is designed to showcase the continent as a stable destination for German investment.
The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde is also there, along with a host of international development officials.
The aim is to create good jobs for Africans, easing the poverty which along with political instability and violence has encouraged large numbers to head for Europe.
“We Europeans have a great interest in African states having a bright economic outlook,” Merkel said in her opening speech, announcing a fund to help small and medium-sized enterprises from both Europe and Africa to invest on the continent.
Germany has already introduced tax incentives for its companies to set up plants in Africa, reflecting Merkel’s view that state aid must give way to private investment if jobs are to be created in their millions.