On Thursday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Ethiopia as part of his trip to East Africa, which will involve him visiting neighboring Kenya as well.
It is his second time in Africa since taking the top job and talks are set to focus on peacekeeping and green energy, as well as the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
His visit comes amid an outburst of violence in Sudan and just six months since Ethiopia — the African country with the second-biggest population after Nigeria — saw the two-year civil war with the country’s northern Tigray region come to an end.
Scholz will head to Kenya, Germany’s biggest trading partner in the region, on Friday. Kenya has played a role as a mediator in regional conflicts and also hosts one of Africa’s biggest green energy projects.
Scholz will also aim to press Germany’s role as a reliable partner as a counter to growing Chinese influence in the region. He will be accompanied by representatives of German companies.
The chancellor may also try to muster more support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. But as German lawmaker Michael Roth — from Scholz’s center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) — told the media group RND, the East Africa trip aims to give a “clear signal, that Germany and Europe are not only occupied with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but that we are also taking action for peace and stability worldwide.”
Jürgen Trittin, a Greens lawmaker from Scholz’s governing coalition, told RND that the trip is about “fair cooperation, not least in the field of renewables as well as being about support against hunger and war.”
Kenya produces most of its electricity using renewable energy sources, such as the continent’s largest geothermal plant. But it is looking for investment to expand its energy generation capacity and industrial base.
Kenyan President William Ruto is expected to appeal to Scholz for increased German investment in the country. However, Ruto’s recent suppression of opposition protests may prove to be a source of contention between the two leaders.