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A reliable partner for Africa

Economic development in Africa depends crucially on the necessary infrastructure being put in place, reported Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The European Union has a wealth of experience to contribute in this respect.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the Chairperson of the African Union Commission with military honours Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The Chancellor stressed that Germany plays a very active part in the cooperation between the European Union and the African Union (AU). "Germany aims to be a reliable partner for the African Union," said Angela Merkel in Berlin. The next summit meeting between the European Union and the African Union will be held in April 2014.

Building roads and railways and extending electricity grids

The Chancellor is convinced that economic development in Africa depends to a large extent on expanding cross-border infrastructure. She noted that the European Union has a wealth of experience in this area, "both in road and rail networks and in the field of electric power lines and the entire infrastructure".

Also on the agenda were the role of the African Union in creating a security architecture for the entire African continent, the conflict in Mali and the implementation status of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a visible sign of cooperation, Angela Merkel pointed to the contribution that Germany is making to the establishment of the Pan African University, as well as development cooperation. Germany is also involved in the construction of the African Union Peace and Security Building.

The heads of state and government of UN member states adopted the Millennium Development Goals back in 2000. The eight verifiable goals are to be achieved by 2015 and provide direction for international development policy.

Involving all political actors in Egypt

In response to a question about the situation in Egypt the Chancellor underlined the fact that the country "must return as swiftly as possible to a democratic transition process". It is important, she added, that all political actors be involved in this process. "We are convinced that this is the only way to ensure a genuinely democratic process in Egypt."

The goals of the African Union

The African Union is responsible for crisis prevention, conflict transformation and peace building. It has set itself the goal of establishing a comprehensive African peace and security architecture.

The challenges facing the African Union are great. It is, for instance, endeavouring to broker an end to the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire and supporting the post-referendum phase in Sudan.

The African Union was founded in 2002 as the successor of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). According to its Constitutive Act, the mandate of the African Union embraces all aspects of political, economic and social life in Africa. The AU has 54 member states, i.e. every state on the African continent with the exception of Morocco. It is not a member because of the conflict over the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which many states do not recognise.

Jul 11, 2013