Merkel departs for South Africa, Angola with business delegation

DPA News Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel departed for a three-day trip to Africa on Wednesday, during which she hopes to strengthen business ties with South Africa and Angola while promoting anti-corruption reforms.

Government sources in Berlin said Merkel, who is travelling with a high-ranking business delegation, wants to show her support for reform efforts while pursuing closer economic ties during her visits to the two countries.

Merkel is to be greeted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday ahead of bilateral talks.

South Africa is Germany’s most important economic partner in Africa.

The long-serving German leader is also scheduled to attend a round-table discussion with German and South African businesspeople and meet students at the University of Pretoria’s new Future Africa campus.

On Friday, Merkel is to hold talks with Angolan President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco and launch a German-Angolan business forum. Several joint agreements and contracts are also expected to be signed.

Angola is one of the world’s poorest countries despite being one of the biggest oil producers on the continent.

Merkel became the first German head of government to visit in Angola in July 2011.

The ONE non-governmental organization, which campaigns for an end to extreme poverty and preventable disease, welcomed German efforts to strengthen economic ties with South Africa and Angola.

“It is important that the German investments stay in the country and also reach the people there,” said Stephan Exo-Kreischer, director of ONE in Germany.

The NGO also called on Merkel to demand transparency in light of a recent corruption scandal surrounding Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

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