Merkel’s West African tour

Following Merkel’s business-focused West Africa tour in August 2018 of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, the German chancellor came back to the region for a three-day tour of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger on 1-3 May. This time, discussions focused on security and counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel. Chancellor Merkel participated in the G5 Sahel Extraordinary Summit on 1 May in Ouagadougou. “We talked about the deteriorating security situation and we want to be on the side of Burkina Faso, especially in terms of co-operation on security,” Merkel said after a meeting with Christian Roch Kaboré, president of Burkina Faso. “This is necessary because in the East and North of the country there is a situation where children cannot go to school, where populations seem to live in insecurity. We need to end these problems as quickly as possible”, Merkel said. Germany pledged an additional EUR 46 million for Burkina Faso and EUR 35 million for Niger to support development projects and to pay for security force equipment and training. In addition, Germany has already contributed EUR 60 million to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. G5 Sahel nations commended Germany’s new role in the Sahel and called for support to resolve the Libyan crisis, which is still having a significant effect on the region. The Sahel region has become the main focus of Germany’s Africa policy. Africa became a priority under the German G20 presidency in 2017, which led to the launch of the G20 Compact with Africa. To date, seven West African countries have joined the compact (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal and Togo).