BERLIN/N’DJAMENA/BAMAKO (Own report) – Berlin is using today’s visit of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari to enhance its rapidly growing military influence in West Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to Africa early this week has already revealed Germany’s growing military importance on the African continent. According to reports, a “change” can already be noted, particularly in Mali. Traditionally within France’s exclusive sphere of influence, the EU, “fundamentally under German leadership,” is now increasingly determining that country’s development. The German government is also expanding the Bundeswehr’s activities and the supply of military hardware to Niger and Chad, along with the construction of a military base in Niger’s capital Niamey. Berlin is also seeking to obtain influence in the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria. The first accords on support measures had already been reached with Nigeria last year. Germany is enhancing its network of influence in West Africa by increasing the deployment of expeditionary troops, the establishment of military bases and by supplying military aid. This could possibly reduce France’s traditional political and military predominance in its former colonies.
France’s Waning Influence
From Mali to Neighboring Countries
France’s waning, and Germany’s growing influence was reported in detail by a German daily close to the government. Given the fact that Mali, along with numerous other West African countries, use French as their official language, the region’s “French imprint” remains “decisive” in this respect, the daily writes. However, the training staff “as well as the content of the training” is no longer predominated “today by France.” “In the future, the entire training system of Mali’s army will be based on the European experience and will no longer bear a French imprint,” the author continues his report. “Now the European training approach is beginning also to be applied in Mali’s neighboring countries.” In the training camp Koulikoro, EUTM Mali is now also training staff officers from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. “The Eucap Sahel Mission, under the command of the German diplomat Albrecht Conze,” is preparing its expansion “even more energetically into the neighboring countries.” The increase in troops deployed in West Africa can soon be expected and Germany will “probably have to mobilize more forces.”
Military Instead of Business
Even beyond Mail, the German government is systematically expanding its military influence. The Bundeswehr has established a military base in Niger, to the east of Mali. Germany will supply Niger’s armed forces military hardware. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) Germany will also provide military equipment to Chad, situated on Niger’s eastern border, where France maintains an important military base, as it does in Niger. On Wednesday, Chancellor Merkel welcomed Chad’s President Idriss Déby and suggested an increase in support for the war on Boko Haram and an enhancement of business relations. Déby’s visit to Berlin was the first visit of a Chadian president to the Federal Republic of Germany. Chad has particularly been under intensive French influence. German-Chadian business relations are virtually non-existent. During his visit to the German capital, President Déby met with German business leaders to also economically open his country to German influence. However, the development in recent years has shown that Berlin’s ambitious efforts to boost trade relations and investments in African countries have not been very successful, whereas, particularly the People’s Republic of China has been able to systematically enhance its economic position on the continent. Germany is trying to increase its influence in the field of military policy because its economic power is currently insufficient for achieving a predominant position in Africa.