Germany’s Merkel bolsters support for west African states

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OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Burkina Faso and four other West African countries millions of euros in new German aid on Wednesday to help fight terrorism in the region and support economic development.

At the start of a three-day visit to the region, Merkel promised Burkina Faso more than 20 million euros ($22 million) and said Germany would send a further 60 million to the G5 Sahel group, to which Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania also belong.

Western governments, including former colonial power France and the United States, are alarmed by the rise of jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in West Africa’s lawless Sahel region.

Merkel, who also plans to offer German aid of 35 million euros to Niger, is aiming to stimulate private investment in the region with the money.

“Africa needs a self-supporting economy,” she told reporters in Burkina Faso, one of the poorer African countries with gross domestic product (GDP) of less than $1,000 per person.

Her aim is to help ease the poverty which, along with political instability and violence, has encouraged large numbers to head for Europe. But with Africa’s population growing at almost 3 percent a year, the task is enormous.

($1 = 0.8933 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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