German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller is calling for Germany and other European Union (EU) members to send money to Africa to create jobs which he claims will prevent mass migration.
Likening the idea to the Marshall plan which saw the United States pour money into post-war Germany to rebuild its tattered economy and infrastructure, Mr. Müller said that the development of Africa is in the interest of both Germany and Europe.
“We need a new future treaty for Europe with Africa,” he said and added, “If we do not solve the problems together, they will come to us at some point,” FOCUS Online reports.
The Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) politician spoke of the plan at a presentation for the German Federal parliament, the Bundestag. Along with experts from both Germany and Africa in the fields of business, science, politics, and religion, he said the main focus would be on job creation through European investment into economic development and free trade.
“Africa needs to do more,” he said noting various countries on the continent have not managed to combat the large-scale corruption that hurts economic growth, along with suffering a deficit of democracy and the rule of law.
Günter Nooke, Africa Commissioner of the German Federal Government, supports the plan and said it was imperative that “everyone understands the importance of the continent”.
Müller also rejected the proposal to impose sanctions or cut development aid to African countries who refuse to take back illegal migrants. He claimed that such a move would further destabilise the region and could lead to further migrants arriving in Europe.
In 2016, Italy, the first country most African migrants arrive in after crossing the Mediterranean, received a record number of migrants and a further record number drowned in the attempt to reach Europe.
According to Müller, the first stage of his proposal would be a “Mediterranean Union” in which North African countries like Egypt or Morocco would be able to sell their goods in Europe without costly tariffs if the countries meet the required standards.
He said that such a plan would likely take 10 to 20 years to implement but did not comment if there would also be the free movement of people like in the EU.
The Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO) released a report last week indicating that a lack of jobs could fuel more waves of migration from Africa. Austrian Army Intelligence claimed that the number of potential migrants could be as high as 20 million by the year 2020.