Germany’s foreign aid minister: “Europe relies on the exploitation of Africa for its prosperity”

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A very interesting interview with Germany’s foreign aid minister Gerd Müller (not to be confused with Germany’s iconic soccer player of the same name). Some very progressive discourse under the impression of the refugee crisis.

Viel zu lange hat Europa den afrikanischen Kontinent mit ausgebeutet. Wir Europäer haben wertvolle Ressourcen zu Niedrigstpreisen bekommen und den Arbeitskräften Sklavenlöhne gezahlt. Auch auf dieser Ausbeutung gründen wir in Europa unseren Wohlstand. Nun wundern wir uns, wenn die Menschen in Afrika keine Chancen mehr für sich sehen und zu uns kommen wollen. Wir senden ihnen ja auch täglich das Signal von Reichtum.

It remains to be seen if he follows up with any actual change in policy. So far, the current German government has not displayed anything even approaching “innovation” in its relationship with African states.

Source: “Europa hat Afrika ausgebeutet”

Gatia takes control of Méneka from MNLA

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A reminder that the civil war in Mali has by no means been resolved until now:

Le Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et alliés (Gatia) – proche du pouvoir malien – a pris lundi le contrôle de Ménaka, dans le nord du Mali, selon l’AFP. Une localité jusqu’ici partiellement entre les mains de la rébellion.

Source: Mali : le Gatia prend le contrôle de Ménaka | Jeuneafrique.com

Lessons on migration

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Very interesting and personal perspective on economic motivations for migration from Africa to Europe in a post by Bruce Whitehouse about a Malian friend of his:

Last year he started talking about emigrating. “I want to leave because there is nothing here. I want to find another country where I can have some money. I’m tired of asking others for help,” he said. He thought about applying for a US visa. He thought about Equatorial Guinea, where he knew someone who had apparently made good money. In the end he decided on Libya, where a friend was working as a carpenter. I warned him not to go. I told him what I’d heard about political instability, armed violence and exploitation of African migrants there. None of it mattered: Lamine bought a bus ticket to Niger, and from there made his way north across the Sahara.

For me the story of Lamine is again confirming that poverty and an absence of hope for the future can be just as powerful as a motivation for people to migrate as war and persecution. And that migrants make very deliberate and well informed choices about the risks they are willing to take.

Source: Desperate for a way out | Bridges from Bamako

The Sahel Blog on a possible shift in Nigeria’s economic policy

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Interesting insight into possible economic policies of Nigeria’s incoming government, as well as some more general points on the perception of African policy making in the West by Alex Thurston:

So again, Tinubu comes out against austerity and in favor of using infrastructure projects to create jobs. The APC’s political survival may ultimately depend on its ability to alleviate poverty, so it will important to see whether and how these ideas translate into policies and projects after Buhari’s inauguration on May 29.

The speech, and the reference to the manifesto, bring up another important point. The trope of “African politics is not about issues” is so deeply entrenched in international media coverage that you can frequently watch Western journalists reflexively assume that Buhari and the APC have only vague policies, despite evidence to the contrary.

Source: More on the Economic Vision of Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress | Sahel Blog

Gulf of Guinea: who will win the oil battle?

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The disagreement began in 2007, when Ghana discovered the so-called Jubilee oil field located on the shared border. To avert any trouble, the Ivorian and Ghanaian authorities created a joint commission in 2008. However, this did not stop Ghana from continuing its offshore exploration and allowing Tullow Oil, a British company, to develop Jubilee in 2010. In 2013, Côte d’Ivoire responded by awarding French oil company, Total, a licence to operate in an oil field in the same zone.

[…]

The disputed maritime space could have been transformed into an area of common interest if the countries had signed a petroleum product-sharing contract with an agreed allocation, as Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe had done in 2001. The former received 60% of the production and the latter 40%. They could also have created a joint operating company like Libyan-Tunisian Joint Oil, which was founded in 1988 by Tunisia and Libya to resolve their maritime border dispute, and whose profits are divided equally between the two countries.

[…]

It is unfortunate that these two member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have instead chosen to confront each other in an international court. But the process is not irreversible, as Ivorian and Ghanaian authorities could still withdraw their requests and return to the negotiating table. If not, they are heading towards a sentence that could damage their peaceful history.

[…]

Source: ISS Africa | Gulf of Guinea: who will win the oil battle?