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7 November 2011, Spiegel Online

Germany is missing its chance in Africa

Angela Merkel's one day visits to Kenya, Angola, and Nigeria show that Germany is not all that interested in Africa. In the meantime, countries less preoccupied with demanding human rights requirements on their investments are building strong ties with Africa.

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In Germany, most people think of wars, poverty and hunger when they think of Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stopover on the continent, where she will travel to three countries in just three days, is unlikely to change that. Other nations have long been investing in Africa, and are reaping the benefits.

She will meet the president and the prime minister, and when she holds a speech at the University of Nairobi, four national TV channels will carry the event live. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s arrival in Kenya on Monday evening will be a big deal for the eastern African nation.

Since the unrest in 2008 that led to more than 1,400 deaths and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, no Western leader has visited Nairobi, not French President Nicolas Sarkozy, nor British Prime Minister David Cameron. United States President Barack Obama, whose grandfather was Kenyan, didn’t visit the country during his only African visit in 2010. It was an affront to Kenya.

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