Tag Archives: Germany

Burundi demands $43bn reparations for colonialism

Burundi wishes Belgium and Germany to pay $43 billion in reparations for harm done during decades of colonial rule.

The move follows similar calls for compensation by the Democratic Republic of Congo after Belgian King Philippe in June offered his “deepest regrets” over his nation’s colonial past in the Congo.

Burundi also intends to recuperate from Belgium and Germany the archival material and objects expropriated between 1899 and 1962, Senate President Reverien Ndikuriyo told senators in the capital, Gitega, on Thursday, August 13. In 2018, the Senate appointed a panel including historians and anthropologists to investigate the impact of colonialism rule on the nation.

Much of Burundi’s present-day political challenges can be traced back to a decree by Belgian King Albert I to classify the population along three ethnic groups, according to Aloys Batungwanayo, a historian and doctoral researcher at the Lausanne University.

“It is this decree that has led to conflicts in Burundi and the region because some of the population was excluded from the ruling class because of the decree,” Batungwanayo said in the commercial hub Bujumbura, Bloomberg reports.

The Black Lives Matter movement has stirrred the debate about racism in the West, and in the sub-Saharan Africa much of the experts has focused on the legacy of colonialism.

The demands of reparations conicided with the request of the Council of Ministers of the East Africa Comminity (EAC) to Burundi to disburse the outstanding budgetary contributions ($6.5 million) by September 15, to enable the EAC organs and Institutions discharge their mandate.

The East Africa Community’s 41st Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers was held on August 4, under the chairmanship of Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Vincent Biruta. “The Secretariat as well as the other organs and institutions are already experiencing liquidity challenges,” said Mr Biruta in the report. “A number of providers of goods and services need to be paid. Some activities are being put on hold until the partner states disburse the outstanding contribution.”

EU and Germany help Niger to cope with migrant flows

The European Union, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-finance a project in Niger which helps local authorities identify development and infrastructure measures and strengthen their capacity to better address the consequences of migration. More than 150 000 people will benefit from better access to basic services which will also create 1 500 jobs.

Launched in 2017, with a budget of EUR 28.5 million, the project “Programme: Améliorer la gestion des défis migratoires” (ProGEM) has been cooperating with 20 local authorities along the main migratory routes.

The city of Agadez is a transit route for passing migrants and hosts at the same time young Nigeriens who are looking for a job as well as returning migrants from countries such as Algeria or Libya. More than 300,000 people pass through Agadez every year.

There are considerable social, economic and administrative challenges. According to the vice-president of Agadez Regional Council, Aklou Sidi Sidi, “the demand for water, medical care, education and sanitation is high and continuing to rise. This is one of the main consequences of the migration we are faced with here in Agadez, in the north of the country”. Unemployment drives young Nigeriens to migrate or get involved in smuggling activities. “The key is economic development and job creation in our towns”, Mr Aklou stresses.

“ProGEM is always there to help. It helps us develop our own expertise and draw up and implement appropriate measures, both social and in terms of infrastructure”, says Mr Alhousseini Hamodi, the mayor of Tchintabaraden district.

Thanks to ProGEM the municipality could identify the most affected areas. And the project is currently building and extending 10 healthcare centres and hospitals, 10 drinking water supply systems and standpipe networks, 5 markets and commercial infrastructures, 15 toilet blocks and 11 classrooms in the regions of Agadez, Tahoua and Zinder.

EU asylum reform imminent

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU lacks solidarity and efficiency concerning migration. He underlined that the European borders must have better protection, whereas the mechanism of granting asylum must be unified. French president further pointed out that Europe’s response to migration crisis was outdated and reform was needed.

The meeting between the new Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the French president was jeopardized by a war of words following Rome’s decision to repel vessel #Aquarius carrying some 600 illegal migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

During the press conference after the meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that talks of “axis” countries on migration are a reminder of “Europe’s unfortunate past history,” referring to the earlier remarks of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that German, Austrian and Italian interior ministers form “axis” against illegal immigration.

As a possibility Macron and Conte offered to establish asylum processing centres in Africa, to prevent people risking their lives when crossing Mediterranean.