Is Germany about to make significant African investment?


German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has just finished heading a four-day visit to several eastern African countries. He has noted that German perceptions of Africa are at odds with the increasingly business-friendly situation that is developing in certain areas of the continent.
The minister answered calls for investment made by many business and political leaders in the region when he said: “there are anchors of stability to which we turn with special interest.”
Having been to talks in both Kenya and Rwanda, it is increasingly evident that investments will be made in these countries. Since both belong to the East African Community (EAC) it could be part of a move that will support the proposed eventual merger of the member states into a single country, known as the East African Federation.
Alongside Dr Steinmeier was the German foreign office’s Head of Economic Affairs, Dieter Haller, who stated that Rwandan infrastructure projects, especially electricity generation, could receive investment.
He said: “We have two big investors who have expressed their interest in hydroelectricity; we are confident there are still enormous opportunities in this sector that investors are looking to take advantage of.”
This trade meeting is the latest in a series of calls for German investment made in recent years and must surely reflect that the relative political stability within the EAC is proving to be an attractive location for foreign capital.
In 2013, the Togolese ambassador to Germany, Comla Paka, made an explicit call for Germany to invest in the country’s limited infrastructure which highlights the fact that Germany itself may be seen by African governments as a trustworthy and equitable partner.
Since calls for increased investment are increasing in volume, it seem to only be a matter of time before agreements are made. Specific numbers and destinations remain to be seen, but given the recent oil and gas discoveries in Kenya it may be quite easy to guess where at least some of the money will be sent.