Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Maria Böhmer, recently met the female Ambassadors from Africa in Berlin to discuss topical foreign policy issues. The get-together at Villa Borsig initially focused on the growing threat posed by terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Shabab, as well as flight and migration, the role of women in foreign relations and their greater involvement in conflict and crisis prevention.
Flight and migration is currently one of the greatest challenges facing Germany, Europe and the rest of the world, Prof Böhmer said at the meeting. She therefore welcomed the joint action plan on migration adopted at the EU-Africa Summit in Malta last November. She went on to say that Germany wanted to tackle the causes of flight in the countries of origin and to provide these countries with more resources to do so.
Böhmer also stated that irregular migration to Europe had to be combated and that African countries had a part to play in this. Africa has experienced large-scale flight and migration. Many countries on the African continent have to shoulder a heavy burden measured against their population size and economic performance. What is more, Africa’s societies are increasingly changing: 50 per cent of the population is now under 25.
Böhmer commented, “Africa cannot do without these young people, for they are the continent’s future. That’s why it is so important that they are given opportunities which enable them to stay in their own countries.”
On strengthening the rights of women, Böhmer said, “It was important that gender equality and the empowerment of women were included as a separate goal in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Böhmer represented Germany at the negotiations in New York in September 2015. “The African Union’s 2015 Women’s Empowerment initiative showed that the Heads of State and Government of the African Union have recognised the key role of women in Africa’s future development”, Böhmer went on to say.
The German Government will also step up its commitment this year by providing more funding for UN Women and establishing the post of Special Representative on Gender Issues within the framework of Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship.
GCIA[Photo: Minister Böhmer with African female ambassadors and officials at the event; © Bundespresseamt]