German’s Angela Merkel lands in Mali seeking to stem migration

German’s Angela Merkel lands in Mali seeking to stem migration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was greeted by Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Sunday (October 9), as she arrived in the country, the first of three she is visiting in Africa.

Merkel will also host leaders from Chad and Nigeria for talks in Berlin after her visit to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia aimed at finding ways to reduce the number of migrants trying to enter Europe.

The visit is also set to focus on security and anti-insurgency efforts in the region. Their success is seen as crucial to curbing migration.

Merkel is also seeking investment opportunities which her government hopes will drive economic development on the continent and curb future waves of migration to Europe.

A flood of almost a million migrants into Germany last year, many from Syria and Iraq, has hit Merkel’s popularity at home.

A European Union deal with Turkey helped stem the flow from the Middle East and Asia, but thousands of people still risk the perilous Mediterranean crossing every day from Africa to Europe.

Merkel has described Africa, with its population of 1.2 billion people, as “the central problem” in the migration issue, and last month said the EU needed to establish migrant deals with north African countries along the lines of the Turkey deal.

It is the chancellor’s first multi-day trip to Africa since 2011