11 July 2013

Africa: Dlamini-Zuma in Berlin

Germany-Africa ties and post-coup Egypt were on the agenda of a meeting in the German capital on Thursday between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president of the AU Commission, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The 21st century will be African century," AU Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed to the media after her meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. She said Africa was a continent with lots of opportunities and was "going to grow much more, with a bigger, younger vibrant population."

The influential South African politician, who has been at the helm of the African Union Commission for a year, said that was why she would like to see "more participation from German companies in Africa."

The energy and transport sector in particular could benefit from German expertise, she added. Chancellor Merkel also called for greater German economic involvement in Africa. "Africa's prosperity is of great importance to us," she said. "We are neighbors," she added.

Dlamini-Zuma thanked the German government for its "passionate support" of the African Union. Germany is supporting the Pan African University which aims to raise the standard of university training and research on the continent. Berlin is also financing the AU's new building complex in Ethiopia, which is expected to be opened next year.

The AU is celebrating half a century of progress towards African unity this year. Its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded in 1963.

Conditions for Egypt's return to AU

Dlamini-Zuma and Merkel also discussed the political upheaval now engulfing Egypt. The German Chancellor urged the country to return to a path of democratic transition as quickly as possible and to ensure that all political players were included. The Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed President Mohamed Morsi is refusing to take part in the political process and is demanding his reinstatement.

Egypt has been suspended from the African Union, but Dlamini-Zuma said in Berlin it could return as soon as it has a leadership "that is elected or that comes through their constitutional process."

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