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Germany’s rude awakening: Germany realizes that Africa is more important than it thought



  • Germany is paying Sub-Saharan Africa its third visit since the start of the German/Ukraine conflict.
  • This underscores Africa’s need to become a major player in the global energy market.
  •  The Middle East’s potential chaos has served as a timely reminder of how important it is to diversify energy sources.

This weekend marks German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s third trip to sub-Saharan Africa in as many years, as crises in other parts of the world underscore the region’s rising significance as an energy-rich area in which Berlin has hitherto played a rather passive role.

Along with visits to Ghana and Nigeria, two significant oil producers, he has migrant flows and instability in West Africa on his itinerary.

The understanding that Germany and Europe need Africa more than they previously realized served as a major catalyst for the trip, according to Greens lawmaker Anton Hofreiter. “People realized we needed allies against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he said. “And suddenly we noticed they weren’t necessarily on our side… That was a rude awakening.”

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has given the trip’s energy-related components a greater sense of urgency.

Germany went to Qatar in February 2022 for the liquefied gas it needed to power its industries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Middle East’s potential chaos has served as a timely reminder of how important it is to diversify your energy sources.


Nigeria’s top export to Germany is oil, but officials are thinking about expanding that to include gas as well. “Oil-exporting countries face the question of whether they want to flare all that gas off or use it,” a German official said in connection with the visit. “We are very open to discussing with Nigeria whether we can buy gas too.

However, in order for that to occur, it would be necessary to examine the ongoing underinvestment in Nigeria’s energy industry, something that the corporate delegation that is now unnamed and traveling with Scholz may be able to assist with.

Additionally, they could view Ghana, home to 30 million people, and Nigeria, home to 200 million, as suppliers of the labor that Germany desperately needs as its own population ages out of the labor force.

“German medium-sized companies are desperate to get hold of these IT experts, especially in Ghana,” said Stefan Liebing, a consultant and former head of the German African Business Association.