German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a recent visit, has reaffirmed her country’s commitment to Nigeria. Trade was top of Merkel’s agenda with relations between Nigeria and Germany being discussed. She made it clear to reporters, during her visit that Germany wanted to see African nations standing alone without the need for foreign aid.
While in Nigeria the German leader held talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on issues such as: education, disease prevention, ending terrorism and progress on human rights. The Chancellor told her hosts: “African conflict prevention and resolution will relieve UN peacekeeping in future.” She spoke warmly of the relationship between the two countries: “Nigeria still has to overcome a few impediments and problems so as to ensure prosperity for everyone in this country…Germany will want to be at Nigeria’s side and to help Nigeria in this endeavour.”
Chancellor Merkel and President Jonathan signed a number of trade agreements during her visit. The president told reporters in Abuja: “… the relationship between Nigeria and Germany will continue to flourish.” He continued by thanking the German leader for making the journey to his country. In turn the Chancellor praised the President for his commitment to human rights and democracy in Nigeria. She also spoke of the important contribution Nigeria makes to the continent of Africa.
However Chancellor Merkel, while visiting Angola, came in for criticism at home. The sale of German patrol boats to Angola has led to controversy with one German politician describing Merkel as the “patron saint of the arms lobby”. However the Chancellor was dismissive of the comments: “I think what we have here is not about a build up of armaments, but border security boats.”
The German leader also visited Kenya during her short tour of Africa. She was welcomed to the east African nation by President Mwai Kibaki. The Chancellor brought a number of German business people with her, telling Kenyans that “the German economy has a great interest in further cooperation” between the two countries.