The leaders of Europe and Africa’s largest economies have met for talks in Abuja. Promoting economic measures to stem migration has been a priority during the German chancellor’s trip to western African countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in the last leg of her trip to three African countries.
The smiling leaders appeared at ease as they met for talks that are set to focus on boosting economic development and curbing migration to Europe.
A delegation of business leaders and potential investors accompanied the chancellor during her to trip in an effort to encourage investment in western Africa.
Merkel said that economic cooperation between Germany and Nigeria would be expanded and pointed to the planned production of Volkswagen cars in Africa, DW’s correspondent in Abuja reported.
“This, too, is an important step,” the chancellor said. “It is an example for many more possible economic partnerships.”
Prior to her talks with Buhari, Merkel met with Jean-Claude Brou, the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is headquartered in Nigeria.
Merkel is also expected to address the security situation in Nigeria. The country has been grappling with terror attacks in the north by the extremist group Boko Haram.
An estimated 20,000 people have been killed since 2009 while some 2.5 million have fled the region.
Combatting economic woes
Nigeria is the main country of origin for migrants who are seeking to travel to Germany and other European countries across the Mediterranean. It’s also the largest economy on the African continent.
President Buhari side-stepped the question of whether Nigeria would agree to take back Nigerians living in Germany who lack permission to reside there. Chancellor Merkel, meanwhile, said the issue needed to be resolved in a “win-win situation” for both countries.
Although migration has been one of the main focuses of Merkel’s visit, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean is at its lowest in five years.
Some leaders in Europe hope that by encouraging security and investment in western Africa, people will be more likely to remain in a region currently impacted by extremist attacks, unemployment and the detrimental effects of climate change.
Nigeria is the last stop on Merkel’s three-day tour through the region, which included visits to Senegal and Ghana — two of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.
rs/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)
Katrin Gänsler contributed reporting from Abuja.