Thursday, June 30, 2022

German Chancellor Scholz begins Africa tour in Senegal

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal as he began a three-nation tour of Africa on Sunday that also focused on the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Senegal is believed to have significant reserves of natural gas along its border with Mauritania, at a time when Germany and other European countries are trying to reduce their reliance on Russian gas imports.

“We have started exchanges and we will continue our efforts at the level of experts as it is our desire to achieve progress,” Scholz told a joint news briefing with Senegalese President Mackie Saal.

BP is leading the gas project off the coast of Senegal, and the first barrel is not expected until next year.

This week’s first visit to Africa since becoming chancellor nearly six months ago. The two countries they are visiting – Senegal and South Africa – have been invited to participate in the Group of 7 summit in Germany in late June.

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The participants there would try to find a normalcy towards Russia, which was ousted from the then eight-group following the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The leaders will also address the threat of climate change at the G-7 summit. Several G-7 countries, including Germany and the United States, signed a ‘Just Energy Transition Partnership’ with South Africa last year to help the country wean itself from heavily polluting coal.

A similar agreement is in the works with Senegal, where Germany has supported the construction of a solar farm.

German officials also said Scholz would stay in Niger, a country that, like its neighbors, has long been battling Islamist extremists.

Earlier this month, the German government backed plans to move hundreds of its troops from neighboring Mali to Niger. The development comes amid a deepening political crisis in Mali that prompted former colonial power France to announce it was withdrawing its troops after nine years of helping Mali war rebels.

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German officials say their decision was also motivated by concerns that Malian forces receiving EU training might cooperate with Russian mercenaries operating in the country.

Germany, however, will increase its participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which will have 1,400 troops. Cabinet decisions still need to be approved by Parliament.

Niger is also a major transit hub for illegal migration into Europe. People from West Africa join smugglers to travel north to attempt the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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