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National and regional challenges 

27.02.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Maas is visiting Burkina Faso as part of his trip to West Africa. On his trip, he intends to emphasise the fact that Germany is a reliable partner in the area of crisis prevention, says the German Foreign Office.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visits the Lycée Mixte de Gaunghin in Ouagadougou
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visits the Lycée Mixte de Gaunghin in Ouagadougou© Xander Heinl/photothek.net

Germany and Burkina Faso are united by a long-standing friendship. It is also with this in mind that it is particularly important to the Federal Government to support the country as it undergoes a difficult phase. The conflicts in the neighbouring countries of Mali and the Niger are at risk of spilling over into the county, with terrorist attacks being committed time and again. Cross-border organised crime and tensions along ethnic lines are threatening stability in the country.

Support for stabilisation and security

With his visit, Foreign Minister Maas intends to underscore the fact that Germany, along with the EU and the UN, stands shoulder to shoulder with Burkina Faso in this difficult situation. Maas intends to discuss the security situation in the country and the region in talks with Foreign Minister Alpha Mamadou Barry and President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. This matter will also be the focus of his visit to the National Academy, which is supported by Germany.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meets Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry on arrival in Ouagadougou
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meets Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry on arrival in Ouagadougou © Xander Heinl/photothek.net

In addition to this support to date, Maas is also offering a package of measures to the tune of 46 million euros that is being financed by the Federal Foreign Office. The measures are intended to support Burkina Faso’s efforts to stabilise and secure its inadequately controlled border regions and to improve the livelihoods of the population living there in the long term.

Political, economic and social participation

In addition to the security situation in the border regions, the political, economic and social participation of the population as an approach to conflict prevention is a key focus of the visit. Foreign Minister Maas intends to hold discussions on this issue with representatives from the opposition and civil society. Moreover, the delegation will visit a school that is part of the PASCH network, where the German language is being taught with support from Germany – education is, after all, the key to social participation and a bright future. At the Goethe-Institut in the capital Ouagadougou, Foreign Minister Maas will hold discussions with culture professionals on the fringes of the internationally renowned FESPACO film festival.

Trip to West Africa: different phases in the cycle of international crisis management

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meets the president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meets the president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré© Xander Heinl/photothek.net

Burkina Faso is the second stop on Foreign Minister’s trip to West Africa after Sierra Leone. The final destination of the trip is Mali. All these countries are in different phases of international crisis management, be it in the area of conflict prevention, exiting crises or sustainable peacekeeping following crises. Conflict prevention, sustainable peacekeeping and strengthening a comprehensive approach to resolving and preventing conflicts are priorities of German foreign policy and Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council.

At the same time, the German Foreign Office has been tasked by the German Government with updating the guidelines for Germany’s policy on Africa – a process that is currently nearing completion. With this in mind, it is important to Foreign Minister Maas to be on the ground and to gain an insight into how and within which framework cooperation with African countries can be deepened, improved and modernised. How can Germany help to promote conflict prevention and crisis management in Africa, either bilaterally or in the context of multilateral networks?

©German Foreign Office

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