Photograph — Time

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while receiving President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, on Wednesday in Berlin, offered the German government’s support to Niger in the fight against illegal migration. He was in the German capital for talks with the Chancellor to seek more aid to tackle illegal migration, education, security, local administrative infrastructure and healthcare.

This is President Issoufou’s third official visit to Germany since he was first elected in 2011, excluding his attendance of international events in Germany. The most recent being the G20 Africa Conference held in Berlin in 2017.

He said his country needs significant investment to be able to create employment opportunities, especially for young people. Not just in Agriculture but also in our industries. “Africa needs not just raw materials but the mobilization of funds from within Africa and also from the diaspora. It needs development aid and also direct funding investment into the countries of the Sahel.”

He also stated that Germany and Europe can play a significant role in helping find a solution to the crisis in Libya, which is often used as a route for illegal migration to Europe. Niger’s position on the map, just below Algeria and Libya, makes the country a key transit hub for sub-Saharan Africans trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Responding, Merkel commended the efforts of Niger in the fight against terrorism and also offered the support of her government for the fight against the menace. “We would also support you that you get a robust international mandate to continue this fight. From 2019, Germany will be on the United Nations Security Council and will try to work with you together to find political solutions for Libya and also in your fight against terrorism.”

Niger was one of the 3 countries the German Chancellor visited during her three-day visit to Africa in 2016. Since then, Niger has been benefiting from international aid from the EU due to its government’s willingness to work with Europe to curb the number of people using the Mediterranean route to cross to Europe and its ability to stay out of the conflicts in the region. Angela Merkel urged the government to ensure that the funds it was receiving are properly managed. She also stressed the importance of developing higher educational standards in the country and investing in training schemes.

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