‘Africa as a Priority’: Human Rights, Migration and German Chancellor Merkel on Ethiopia| By Bintou Diallo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured above, began her three day ‘tour’ of Mali, Chad and Ethiopia on October 9th with the purpose of highlighting security and global migration crisis issues related to the influx of migrants to the EU and Turkey. Mali, Chad and Ethiopia are countries that host or serve as routes to Libya, Turkey and ultimately to the EU. Chancellor Merkel has outlined the following approaches to counter migration coming from these three hubs (Mali, Chad and Ethiopia) to the EU, specifically to Germany:

  • Aid for development
    • agricultural sector
    • vocational training
  • Military equipment and troops
    • Communications equipment and military vehicles
    • 500 German troops in Mali

All of these approaches work to provide support in creating and enhancing security in Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia in order to decrease migration to Europe.

These priorities and approaches due not seem to align with some of Chancellor Merkel’s Ethiopian constituents.  Ethiopian constituents like the ones below are criticizing Chancellor Merkel’s Marxist approach of trying to meet economic needs in Ethiopia but allegedly ignoring human rights concerns in Ethiopia in the process. Growing demands of job opportunities for youth in Ethiopia and overall investment in other areas of the economy are the least of worries for Ethiopians in Germany and Ethiopia. Since April 2014, Oromos’s, the “largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa have been staging protest rallies across the country against systematic marginalization and persecution of ethnic Oromo’s.”

So, whose priorities are being considered? How will Germany ensure youth participation in educational opportunities for the purpose of economic participation when there are alleged human rights violations that threaten their lives?

As Chancellor Merkel considers Africa’s, more specifically Ethiopia’s, priorities as being the investment in security and vocational training, Ethiopian youth are acting on other own priorities.  Ethiopian youth are educating their government and each other on what concerns are most critical to them.

Foreign talks on migration like the one discussed in The Reality Behind The Talk seem distant from that of constituents in the countries that they refer to in contributing to migration crises and security. Thus not allowing for a two way educational discussion on needs and concerns with one of the most at risk populations, youth, in these dialogues. Though, youth are creating their own platforms to voice their own priorities and concerns. These platforms and voices need to be considered in Germany’s economic participation plan for youth, specifically Ethiopian youth.




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