Germany pledges further support to AU

The German government has pledged an additional €55.5-million in support of African Union (AU) programmes and joint strategic initiatives over a two-year period.

With the new commitment, Germany’s total support to the AU since the inception of bilateral co-operation in 2004 exceeds €500-million.

“We want to support the AU in making substantial progress in the economic and political integration of Africa,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal representative for Africa in the federal ministry for economic co-operation and development Gunter Nooke said in Addis Ababa.

“Economic transformation, skills development and the creation of job opportunities are central to combat poverty and the root causes of forced migration and we have agreed to do more in the area of agriculture training and development,” he said.

African people, like men and women everywhere, would not want to leave their homes if they had the choice, he said.

The commitment also focused largely on agricultural development, especially supporting the comprehensive Africa agricultural development programme which received the largest additional share of €29-million. Support would go to agricultural, technical and vocational training in more than 10 African countries, with a special focus on women, according to the agreement.

The agreement document also stated that the AU and German government had agreed to collaborate in the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) – currently being negotiated and prepared – and Germany had made an initial pledge of €5-million.

The CFTA, a free trade area from Cairo to Cape Town and from Cape Verde to Djibouti, would promote intra-African trade and stimulate growth and employment through better incentives for domestic and foreign investment.

“Regional integration is fundamental for Africa, a continent which is actually only trading 12% with its African neighbours,” Nooke said.

“We are talking here about a market seize of more than 1.2 billion consumers.”

The German government had also pledged €21-million for peace and security, good governance, a Pan-African University and geothermal energy.

“We will also be working closely with Germany to see how we can support our specialised agency, the African Risk Capacity, to offer insurance against climate calamities events to AU member states as well as the land policy initiative, which aims at providing more expertise in dealing with land issues to AU member states,” AU commissioner for trade and industry Fatima Haram Acyl said.

“We have also agreed to continue working together in the area of good governance through the strengthening of the African governance architecture and in particular the African Court of Human and People’s Rights,” Acyl said. – African News Agency (ANA)

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