Merkel to boost German investment in Africa

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Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday that she wants to create new incentives to boost German private investment in Africa.

Speaking at an economic conference in Berlin, Merkel promised to make additional government funds available to German companies as insurance against political and commercial risks in their foreign endeavours.

Additionally, the federal government would seek to sign new bilateral treaties to prevent double-taxation, as well as establishing a new fund designed specifically to assist small and mid-sized European and African enterprises by extending loans and providing share capital. 

“We want to send a strong signal together here that we are interested in a good and profitable neighbourhood between Africa and Europe,” Merkel told an audience of the conference, which included German business leaders and African heads of state. It was unclear on Tuesday how much money exactly her federal government would make available towards that end. 

Last year, Merkel launched a wider initiative to boost investment in Africa as part of Germany’s G20 presidency. In a first concrete attempt to intensify economic cooperation with African countries, Berlin has since taken steps to lower the insurance excess shouldered by domestic small and mid-sized enterprises in trade with regional countries which have signed onto the initiative. 

Stefan Liebing, the president of the German-African Business Association, welcomed the presentation of new incentives on Tuesday as being “an almost historical announcement” by Merkel. “Now we have a basis to start from,” Liebing added. 

The German-African Business Association has estimated that previously-unveiled regulatory changes under the G20 initiative have more than doubled the volume of export guarantees for African trade to 1.09 billion euros (US$1.24 billion) during the first half of 2018.

For 2018, the association believes that German companies could make investment decisions worth 1 billion euros on the continent. Liebing emphasised that mid-sized firms, in particular, would have to be supported if the government wanted to double or even triple that figure. - Nampa/Xinhua

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