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Minister Müller in the world’s biggest refugee camp in Kenya, hosting around 350,000 people, mostly from Somalia fleeing the violence caused by the Al-Shabaab militant group / Photo: © Thomas Gottschalk/BMZ

German Minister Müller visits East Africa

German Minister for Development and International Cooperation, Dr Gerd Müller, began a five-day tour of the East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Djibouti on 29 March. With this trip, the German government wants to raise global awareness about the crises in the region.

The most notable stop on the minister’s tour is the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world. Existing for nearly 25 years now, the camp is home to around 350,000 people, mostly from Somalia fleeing the violence caused by the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Germany plays an active role supporting the Dadaab camp with education and returnee programs for refugees in Kenya. This year, the German government contributed €21.5 million, which greatly improved the conditions in the UNHCR camp. This donation will help return full food rations, which, due to a lack of funding, were cut by 30 percent at the beginning of this year. Additionally, the camp receives support from the EU in areas such as water, health and livelihood activities.

Another theme of the minister’s trip is to stress the importance of vocational training for youths in East Africa. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is going to be expanding its involvement in this area. Without the prospects of employment, many people are stuck in an unending cycle of poverty.

Over one third of young Kenyans are without work. In Tanzania, more than a third of people live below the national subsistence level. Despite the economic development in these countries, many people are left out of the progress. With increased education, there will be many more job opportunities, allowing impoverished people a chance for a better life.

The economic situation of millions of people in Africa plays an important role in the lives of Europeans. Along with refugees fleeing war and violence, many are also fleeing to Europe for economic reasons. If conditions are improved in the countries of origin, there will be less of a desire to migrate for work, relieving stress in the current migrant and refugee situation, the German government believes.

Ian Rush & Bob Hooda

 

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