G20 Africa summit highlights renewed interest in fast-growing continent

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  • Berlin Summit to promote economic reforms and investments in Africa
  • Great powers compete for influence and opportunities on the continent
  • African leaders to meet Scholz and Macron

BERLIN, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Leaders from more than a dozen African countries are heading to Germany for the G20 Compact with Africa conference, which aims to help boost private investment in the poorest continent of the world, but growing rapidly.

Emphasizing renewed interest In Africa, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be among those attending the Berlin summit, hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to German government officials.

Scholz, who visited Africa several times since taking office at the end of 2021, will hold bilateral talks with several African countries on Sunday, before hosting a summit on German-African investment at the Marriott Hotel in Berlin on Monday morning.

Europe and the United States are jostling with Russia and China for geopolitical influence, critical minerals and new economic opportunities in the world’s second-most populous continent.

These include Africa’s potential for renewable energy production, particularly green hydrogen, which could help its northern neighbor transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The continent’s stability and prosperity are also seen as key to reducing illegal migration.

The Compact with Africa, established in 2017 under Germany’s G20 presidency, aims to bring together reform-minded African countries, international organizations and bilateral partners to coordinate development programs and discuss investment opportunities.

The event takes place officially on Monday afternoon at the German Chancellery, preceded by a press conference with the leaders of the African Union, which in September was transformed into permanent member of the G20 group of the most powerful countries in the world.

“We will not make a joint statement, we do not want to impose a tight corset on our African partners,” a German government official said on Friday. “We want concrete results instead.”

German government officials say Africa can play a key role in helping Germany better diversify its supply chains, secure a skilled workforce, reduce illegal migration and achieve its green transition .

African countries have long complained that while Europe talks about investment, China actually provides finance without any moral lessons. However, Chinese loans in Africa are in declinewhile European interest increases as it seeks to diversify supply chains.

German trade with Africa amounted to 60 billion euros ($65.4 billion) last year, a fraction of its trade with Asia but up 21.7%. compared to 2021.

Nearly two-thirds of German companies want to expand their activities in Africa, according to a study by KPMG and the Association of German-African Businesses.

The member countries of the G20 Pact are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

($1 = 0.9168 euros)

Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Mike Harrison

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Chief correspondent covering political and general news in Germany with experience in Argentina and Cuba, leading Reuters’ wider coverage in the Caribbean.

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