The economy and coping with the Libyan crisis are two key topics in the talks between Chancellor Merkel and South African President Ramaphosa in Pretoria. Both sides are full of praise for each other.

Germany and South Africa want to work closely together to find solutions to the conflicts in the civil war-torn country of Libya. The South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said in the course of the discussions in the capital Pretoria, a solution to African problems can only come from Africans – but support is desirable from the outside. Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized during her visit : “Without African expertise, we will not be able to solve this at all.”

Unstable Libya has far-reaching consequences

Settling the conflict is of great importance for Europe and Africa. If Libya was a failed state, there would not only be more refugees – the security of other African countries would also be threatened, said Merkel. Arms from Libya have already entered the Sahel. However, the process of peace would take a long time. There are “many powers” that are pursuing “their own interests” in Libya, said Merkel.

South Africa has made resolving the conflicts in Libya and South Sudan a priority for its presidency in the African Union (AU). Ramaphosa takes over the chairmanship of the organization immediately after Merkel’s visit to the AU summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Chancellor Merkel visits South Africa (picture-alliance / dpa / K. Nietfeld)Chancellor Merkel was received with military honors in the capital Pretoria

In view of an increasingly national policy in many countries, Merkel emphasized cooperation with Ramaphosa – as a partner in a multilateral world order. Ramaphosa, in turn, praised cooperation with Germany, especially in international bodies such as the United Nations. South Africa, like Germany, is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Aid in the energy sector

Chancellor Merkel offered support to the South African government in developing a reliable energy supply. Both countries could work closely together in the field of renewable energies and, for example, in the construction of small gas power plants, Merkel said at the start of a conversation.

South Africa is currently suffering from a severe energy crisis that is paralyzing the country’s economy. This week, the state electricity supplier had to take the districts of Pretoria off the dilapidated network for several hours in order to avoid overloading. South Africa has so far mainly worked with coal power.

Another key issue for the heads of government is closer economic relations. Merkel is accompanied by a larger business delegation. According to them, 600 German companies have created around 100,000 jobs in South Africa. The Chancellor praised the good cooperation in the corporate area, but also called for the market access to be made less bureaucratic. Merkel announced stronger cooperation on the subject of vocational training. The federal government will make an additional 20 million euros available.

In 2018, Germany was South Africa’s second most important trading partner after China and ahead of the USA with a volume of around 17 billion euros. Ramaphosa called Germany one of the most strategic partners in South Africa after the interview. Merkel was last in 2010 for the men’s soccer championship in South Africa. The Chancellor will then travel to Angola.


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