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Africa: G20 Summit - 'A Disappointment for Africa'

"We have 10 times more direct investment in the European Union than we have in the whole of Africa," Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders at the G20 summit. So could African countries benefit from the G20 meeting?

Economic growth and international tradewere the main talking points of the gathering of the world's 20 strongesteconomies in Hangzhou, China. While South Africa is the only African member ofthe G20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out on the topic of investmentin Africa. "There is an urgent need for direct investment in Africancountries because this cannot be shouldered by official development aidalone," she said. DW talked to Robert Kappel, a researcher at the Global Instituteof Global and Area Studies (GIGA), about Germany's economic interests inAfrica.

DW: Why hasn'tthere been enough foreign direct investment for Africa?

Robert Kappel: First of all, theEuropean Union's investment in Africa is really strong but in recent years,China is getting much more important and so are other countries. There is ahesitation on the European side regarding investment in Africa because of civilunrest, because of fragility and wars and in the past yearsonly a few countriesbenefited from stronger investment through enterprises. For instance, Ethiopiaor Kenya and some countries in East Africa benefited more. The growth rates insome parts of the African continent are quite high, so it's beneficial forEuropean investors to be on the ground and invest in those countries.

What do you make of the timingof Chancellor Merkel's calls for more foreign direct investment in Africa andthe need to revise the rules?

The timing is reallyinteresting because German investors are very hesitant and Merkel now sees thatChina has taken a lead position on the African continent. So Germany is now alittle behind and sees that other countries and other enterprises are moreimportant on the African continent. She sees that German industry needs abigger market in Africa and needs resources from African countries for its owndevelopment. She realizes that Germany as an exporting nation cannot avoid theAfrican continent.

Doyou think the Chancellor's message was aimed at the German investors who inrecent years have been reluctant to invest in other parts of Africa apart fromSouth Africa due to concerns like security and taxes?

It's somehow a wake upcall. She's calling on the German industry to take a lead again and there is acertain idea in German industry and government circles, that Germany needs moreinvestors in Africa. But there is also a certain idea of solidarity and ofcorporation with Africa because Africa needs much more investment. It needsmoney from industrialized countries and Germany as a major power in Europecould be one of the main actors on the African continent, without startinganother scramble for Africa.

What do you make of the timingof Chancellor Merkel's calls for more foreign direct investment in Africa andthe need to revise the rules?

The timing is reallyinteresting because German investors are very hesitant and Merkel now sees thatChina has taken a lead position on the African continent. So Germany is now alittle behind and sees that other countries and other enterprises are moreimportant on the African continent. She sees that German industry needs abigger market in Africa and needs resources from African countries for its owndevelopment. She realizes that Germany as an exporting nation cannot avoid theAfrican continent.

Doyou think the Chancellor's message was aimed at the German investors who inrecent years have been reluctant to invest in other parts of Africa apart fromSouth Africa due to concerns like security and taxes?

It's somehow a wake upcall. She's calling on the German industry to take a lead again and there is acertain idea in German industry and government circles, that Germany needs moreinvestors in Africa. But there is also a certain idea of solidarity and ofcorporation with Africa because Africa needs much more investment. It needsmoney from industrialized countries and Germany as a major power in Europecould be one of the main actors on the African continent, without startinganother scramble for Africa.

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