Africa to be priority for German G20 presidency-Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a trip to Ethiopia, said she would make Africa a priority for Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017 and outlined plans for a conference in Berlin.

The German leader was on the last leg of a three day trip which has also included stops in Mali and Niger.

She traveled to seek investment opportunities which she hopes will help drive economic growth and curb future migration to Europe.

Earlier Merkel told Ethiopia to open up its politics and ensure police do not use heavy-handed tactics against protesters, after more than a year of unrest that rights groups said has led to about 500 deaths.

In a speech to the AU, Merkel said that Berlin would host a high-profile conference on Africa in mid 2017.

“We want to strengthen private investment to create sustainable growth and jobs.

“It was important to expand infrastructure on the continent and improve professional training,” she said.

Participants in the conference would include industry representatives and international organisations, she said, urging companies to engage in Africa.

“There are already many German companies active in Africa but there could be more,” she said, adding that sometimes other countries offered deals for infrastructure projects that were linked to financial packages.

Germany would have to change if German firms wanted to be successful, she said, adding that in some other countries the state and economy were more closely linked.