Tue, Jul 10, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Germans tout new ‘Marshall Plan’ for African economies

Reuters, BERLIN

Germany plans to use public money to support companies that invest in Africa, part of a new “Marshall Plan” with which it hopes to tackle the roots of the refugee crisis that has convulsed European politics since 2015.

The aim was to reintroduce a scheme from the 1980s that made it easier for companies to write off losses on investments in Africa, to moderate initial investment risks, German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller told the Handelsblatt newspaper on Sunday.

“I am also going to push for provisions made for African investments to get more favorable tax treatment,” he said.

The plan is being developed by his department, along with the German Federal Ministry of Finance and federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The “Marshall Plan for Africa,” named after the US aid package that helped western Europe recover after World War II, is the centerpiece of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s scheme to reduce refugee flows by sharing the costs of humanitarian issues between Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Few details have been made public concerning the program, which Merkel has argued is essential if Europe is to win African countries’ support for any policies aimed at stemming migration.

Since 2015, when Merkel, faced with unprecedented migrant flows, opened Germany’s borders to more than 1 million refugees from civil war and poverty, the migration question has dominated European politics, fueling the rise of far-right parties.

Under pressure from her own allies, Merkel last week conceded tighter border controls, but she has continued to insist that Europe can only deal with refugee flows multilaterally, in cooperation with its African and Middle Eastern neighbors.

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