Germany urges China to work with EU, G8 in Africa

Berlin, Dec 1 | Updated: Dec 2 2006, 07:35am hrs
Germany aims to deepen its dialogue with China over trade in Africa during its stewardship of the EU and Group of Eight next year and encourage Beijing not to undermine efforts to foster good governance in the region.

We want economic and development cooperation to occur on a conditional basis, Hartwig Fischer, a conservative German lawmaker and a government coordinator on Africa told Reuters. That is to say that basic principles such as good governance, corruption and human rights should play a role when we work together with African countries, Fischer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democrats (CDU), said.

Germany will hold the presidencies of both the European Union and the Group of Eight industrialised nations in 2007 and campaigners hope that Chancellor Angela Merkel will seize the opportunity to promote issues relating to Africa.

We have a good chance in the EU and G8 presidencies to strengthen our dialogue with China so that we can have joint basic principles over trade in Africa, Fischer said.

While it welcomes Chinese trade with Africa, the EU has expressed concerns over Beijing pumping billions of dollars into Africa economies without making the cash conditional on reforms.

The EU, which counts as Africas biggest donor with 15 billion euros annually, has made governance issues, such as the fight against corruption, a precondition of their trade.

In a statement on Germanys G-8 website, published on Friday, Merkel was quoted as saying: We should not relent in our efforts to offer the people of Africa economic growth, development and cooperation. Last month, she called for minimum social standards in trade, including a ban on child labour. A failure of the Doha round of global trade negotiations would also highlight the importance of Germanys efforts during the presidency to foster sustainable economic development.

It would be a challenge if Doha fails, Fischer said. An agreement is necessary for Africa but I am not optimistic. Failing to agree on the talks, stalled since July, could pass up a once-in-a-generation chance to inject up to $300 billion a year into the world economy and ease poverty.