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Fighting the roots of migration: AV Side Event to the Munich Security Conference

German business interests in Africa and “Fighting the roots of migration”: do these two seemingly contrary issues belong together? Yes, they do, agreed high-ranking speakers and panellists of German-African Business Association’s (Afrika-Verein’s) official side event to the 53rd Munich Security Conference on 17th February 2017 in the Literaturhaus in Munich.


In their keynotes, Honorable Minister Mushiwikabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, André Azoulay, Counsellor to the King of the Kingdom of Morocco, and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, set the scene for a lively discussion on intra-African trade, the cultural dimension of talks between the European Union and African countries, as well as on how to create jobs on the African continent. While Minister Mushiwikabo pointed out the fact that Eastern Africa has to deal with many more refugees than Europe, she agreed that stronger trading ties among African countries need to be instigated. When asked by Professor Gabriel Felbermayr, Director of the ifo Center for International Economics, about plans of some African countries to compartmentalize and not agree to Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU, she stated that “EPAs are a good thing for Africa“, allowing the continent to diversify in terms of partnerships and products. At the same time André Azoulay was a strong promoter of more South-South cooperation among African countries, Morocco being one of the main investors in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, he strongly criticized talks without effects by the European Union, especially when it comes to the refugee crises. Good thing that Michael Gahler, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, was able to shed light on African-European measures to improve livelihoods of potential migrants and add another perspective. Dirk Hoke pointed out the need for improved business conditions for German companies in African countries as well as more engagement by Germans when it comes to investing on our neighbouring continent.