Is it really possible? Yes, it is. A German paper did the calculations and determined that on February 5th, 2018, Berlin will have lived free of the Wall for as many days as it was forced to bear it.
The fall of the wall on November 9 1989 brings me to the recent developments in this region.
I experienced the fall of the Wall in West Germany, but the feeling and the emotions were unbelievable, this reminds me a lot of the emotions between Eritrea and Ethiopia, when PM Abiy visited Asmara for the first time on July 8 and now the border opening between both countries. Of course there are differences, in Germany one people was divided because of the power play of the super powers and a lost war, here you have two nations but you lived together in one state for nearly 40 years. This brought of course a lot of personal relations and even cultural links (which even existed before).and here one part seceded from the main country of which it had been annexed and not given the right of self determination. In Germany two halves of one people wanted to come together and were only separated because outside powers wanted it so.
But there are similarities, borders are opened and people and families who were a long time separated want to come together. There is border traffic and we should remember that the border in Berlin was opened by an accident in 1989 and this you could not turn back.
I remember very well the time in Germany when you could not call your relatives in the east but you had to put an application with an operator and he called you back when there was a line available. It could be after hours or even not, especially around Christmas. In times of WhatsApp sounds this unreal, like phantasy.
But now here things have changed a lot. We are in a new era, after the first peace era from 1993- 98, then the war and “no peace-no war” era from 1998-2018 and now in the era of peace. Where will the whole region go to, how will be the development? I think it is good that this peace process has been initiated by the countries which are concerned and not from outsiders. It needed a new leadership in Ethiopia who was ready to engage with Eritrea to find a way out of the impasse in which both countries were stuck. But let me be clear, leaders in both countries should be praised for their courage and their will to find a way of a peaceful get-together.
These developments at the Horn of Africa are a very encouraging sign for Africa and for the whole world. I am not sure if everybody in Europe realizes the significance of these developments.
No country in the world can solve the international problems facing us on its own. In view of its own history and its experiences as regards overcoming tyranny and establishing and consolidating a democratic state founded on the rule of law, my country is facing up to these challenges. Germany is willing to shoulder international responsibility. Germany will be represented as a non-permanent member in the United Nations Security Council for the 2019/20 term. Germany will be represented in this crucial institution for the sixth time. Germany shows already a strong commitment for the United Nations: it is the forth largest contributor to the regular budget and the second largest donor to humanitarian aid and official cooperation. Besides this Germany is one of the largest contributors to peace-keeping missions of the UN.
Besides these positive developments Africa still faces a lot of challenges:
Minister Müller who recently visited Eritrea again highlighted the challenges:
He made the point that on the EU-level there should be a commissioner for Africa where all the different competences for Africa should be concentrated.
Especially concerning the trade policy Europe have to act. In the last years the EU-imports of agricultural products from Africa went down by 40 procent. “The European market” is practically closed. Agricultural products should be imported without taxes and without quotas to the EU. Only in this way there will be created jobs in Africa for the young people.
A closed door for immigration will anyway not be possible, there need to be legal ways to migrate to Europe, scholarships and vocational training. On the other hand African countries should be ready to take back illegal migrants.
We need more engagement of the German business in Africa, up until now there are only 1000 German entreprises out of 3,5 million active in Africa. In 2017 42 out of 54 African states had a higher economic growth than Germany. There is a high dynamic on the African markets.
There are voices you think the development programs of the European countries in the last 50 years did not work and the African countries should generate their development by themselves and not everything should be referred to the colonial times. The main argument of these voices is: why should African countries invest e.g. in infrastructure if others do it? May be it would be the right approach.