Merkel heads to Senegal, May moves on to Nigeria and Kenya

All eyes have been on British Prime Minister Theresa May during her visit to Johannesburg, where she signed a joint statement on trade with South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini – but on Wednesday, it’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn to visit the continent.

Merkel begins a three-nation tour of West Africa in Senegal, where she has meetings with President Macky Sall in Dakar through Thursday before continuing on to Ghana. After meeting with President Nana Akufo Addo and Ghanaian business leaders, Merkel is then expected to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Friday – just steps behind May, who also is visiting Nigeria and Kenya.

While May has emphasized the need for strong trade with African nations in a post-Brexit economy, Merkel also has business at the top of the agenda. The German chancellor was the animating force behind the creation of the G20 Compact with Africa last year, an economic development initiative meant to partner G20 nations with specific African countries.

Ghana and Senegal were among the first 11 participants named last year, while Germany’s focus partners include Ghana along with Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia. The arrangement took Akufo Addo to Germany in February, where he met with investors while stressing the need to create economic opportunity for African youth to stem migration to Europe via the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea.

Merkel will reciprocate with a visit to a startup incubator in Ghana, before her Friday meetings with Buhari and ECOWAS Commission chief Jean-Claude Brou.

Image: Presidency of Senegal file

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