23 January 2017 - Africa Focus of German G20 Presidency

Since December 1, 2016, Germany is holding the chairmanship of the G20 group of the world’s leading industrial countries and emerging economies. The summit of the heads of state and governments and representatives of international organisations will take place in Hamburg on July 7 and 8 this year. On 16 and 17 February, the foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Bonn.

These cooperating states account for almost two thirds of the world population with more than 80 percent of gross world product and three quarters of world trade. Annual summits, which have been held since 2008, therefore traditionally focus on issues relating to global economic growth, international trade and financial market regulation.

“The discussion shows that sustainable growth together with social security is very important […]. Growth, from which all demographic groups benefit: emerging countries, industrialised countries or developing countries“, said German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference in September last year.

One focus of the German chairmanship will be the African continent.

We wish to further intensify the important partnership with African countries in order to make a greater contribution to sustainable economic growth and stability, including beyond the borders of the G20. Building on regional and G20 initiatives, the frameworks for sustainable private sector investments and investments in infrastructure and renewable energies are to be strengthened through cooperation with interested African partner countries.

German Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, announced a “Compact for Africa” to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth by strengthening the ability to invest. “There are ten times more direct investments within the European Union than in Africa, even though Africa’s population is twice as big. This shows how urgent it is to directly invest in African countries. This cannot be compensated by development aid only”, says Merkel. In the initiative, G20 members will therefore support the efforts of African countries and international organisations to boost private investment and infrastructure, such as in the area of transportation, communication and energy.

A further aim of the planned G20 initiative is to support African partners to improve their population’s share in sustainable economic development, particularly in the form of employment opportunities. Through this initiative, the G20 would also seek to reduce risks of climate change, contribute to more efficient health systems and strengthen the role of women. It would also contribute to the fight against the root causes of flight and displacement.

As a culmination point of the G20 Africa Initiative, German Federal Chancellor Merkel is planning to host a conference on Africa on 12 and 13 June 2017 in Berlin. Germany is also planning a session on Africa for the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in February.

On top of that, the second German-African Business Summit (GABS) from 9 to 11 February 2017 will be held in Africa for the first time, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, attended by the German Federal Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as of International Cooperation and Development, Gert Müller.

The German government outlined three other key focal areas for its presidency:

·         Stability (in terms of resilience for the world economy)

·         Sustainability (by implementing international agreements, for example the 2030 Agenda or the Paris Agreement on climate change)

·         Responsibility (in the areas of fighting terrorism and other causes of flight).