Germany is setting a new tone on strengthening bilateral cooperation with Ghana as Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits the West African country.
The visit, commencing on Tuesday, October 31, comes as German businesses are keen to become more active on the continent.
In the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and growing tensions with China, German companies are increasingly turning their attention to African countries in search of new economic potential.
“Ghana is a stable democracy and considered a safe business location in West Africa,” said Burkhardt Hellemann, the Head of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ghana.
“Many German companies have chosen Ghana because of this, in order to also trade in the region or into the region… in Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and so on,” Hellemann told the DW, in an interview, ahead of the Chancellor’s visit.
Per the Chancellor’s itinerary, he will have a discussion with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and interact with identifiable State authorities.
He will also visit the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, and also meet the German community in Ghana.
The Chancellor’s visit is expected to focus on Germany’s economic relations linked to the reform of Berlin’s “Compact with Africa” initiative ahead of the November 20 meeting of African and G20 countries in Berlin.
The 65-year-old – a life-long member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) – was born in what was then West Germany.
Scholz served as the Labor and Social Affairs Minister in Angela Merkel’s first coalition government in the late 2000s.
In 2011, he was elected as the Mayor of Hamburg – a position he held until 2018.
He served as the Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister in Merkel’s grand coalition government – a powerful position in German national politics.
His profile rose further when he oversaw Germany’s generous coronavirus compensation programmes for businesses, employees and those who lost income because they had to quarantine during the pandemic.
Unlike Merkel, who became a household name across the world during her long tenure, Scholz is not well known abroad – beyond Brussels’ political circles.
“Now is the time when we have to make a new start as far as North-South relations are concerned, which will make it possible to develop joint perspectives with the many countries of the south on an equal footing,” Scholz said during his last Africa trip in May.
He believes that as the world” becomes more dangerous”, democratic countries must cooperate.
“It is important that we work together, even if we do have conflict in one or the other question.”
The German Government aims to step up efforts against climate change by expanding the use of renewable energy and bringing the country’s exit from coal-fired power forward from 2038, ideally to 2030.
It also wants to do more to modernise the country, including improving its notoriously poor cellphone and internet networks.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz departed Berlin for Nigeria on Sunday, on what is his third trip to Africa since taking office almost two years ago.
Germany’s top leaders are visiting Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia to cement business ties and discuss new investment opportunities.