In Africa, it takes more than a kneel

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens)

There is great potential for renewable energies in southern Africa.

(Photo: dpa)

Robert Habeck probably never dreamed how intensively he would deal with deserts one day. The economics minister’s new attention to regions with a lot of sand is mainly due to the energy crisis.

After his visit to the Emir of Qatar, who was supposed to supply Germany with liquid gas, Habeck was finally drawn to the Namibian desert. Wind and sun are available there without limits and should soon also serve as an energy supplier for Germany. Ten billion euros are to be invested in a hydrogen project on site.

The new Africa strategy of the Ministry of Development has also identified green hydrogen as a priority. But the African countries must no longer be regarded only as laggards to be developed. We must also take them seriously as business partners.

The expression “partnership at eye level”, which has almost become a cliché in development cooperation, must definitely apply in economic relations. Because otherwise others will be ahead in lucrative deals – China, for example.

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Robert Habeck’s visits to the desert show the difference that still prevails between the energy partnerships that Germany enters into internationally as a result of turning away from Russian gas. While the Emir of Qatar could promise fast deliveries and a long term, the structures in Namibia have yet to be put in place.

Germany now has a chance for decades

At the same time, however, the great potential of cooperation with African countries is also evident. The favorable local conditions promise green energy sources, which will also help Germany to meet the climate targets. In addition, Germany now has the opportunity to establish partnerships for the coming decades that can be very beneficial to the goal of diversifying energy sources in the long term.

In the energy sector and also in other economic relations with the southern neighbor applies: Establishing long-term cooperation and structures is a lot of work. Kneeling before the emir is not enough there, investments and long-term cooperation are needed. But in a world in which partnerships with Russia or China that were previously believed to be safe are slowly disappearing, the effort would be worth it. Because the continent promises an extremely high return on investment in the long term.

More: How Germany wants to win the race with China in Africa

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