BERLIN (Reuters) – G20 foreign ministers will discuss ways to fight poverty in Africa, strengthen governmental institutions and better utilise the potential of many African countries, German ministry officials said on the eve of a two-day meeting in Bonn.
Germany, keen to improve conditions in Africa and halt a growing stream of economic refugees fleeing to Europe, has made cooperation with Africa a centrepiece of its presidency of the Group of 20 largest industrialised countries.
The European Union is also taking steps to stem immigration from Africa, which is set to rise after 181,000 people arriving last year and an estimated 4,500 believed to have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, often in flimsy boats.
“Foreign policy is and must be more than crisis management,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement before the meeting. “We are well advised not to continually be running from one fire to another with a fire extinguisher.”
Anthony Mothae Maruping, economics commissioner for the African Union, will participate in the meeting, which will also address implementation of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development agreed by all U.N. members in September 2015.
Ministers will also discuss the war in Syria, violence in eastern Ukraine and other global crises during the G20 meeting and bilateral meetings on the sidelines.
Gabriel, who took over as German foreign minister last month, said it was important for the G20 countries, which account for about four-fifths of the world’s gross domestic product, to focus on combating the root causes of conflicts and preventing crises before they gathered steam.
New U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be at the meeting with his counterparts from Russia, China and other G20 countries. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and foreign ministers from the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Vietnam will also participate.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams)