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Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck opened a German-African business conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday by saying that he wants to direct more investment to Africa.

Habeck suggested revising Germany’s foreign investment promotion scheme to do this, a system that hedges foreign direct investments against potential political risks.

Habeck encouraged additional incentives for investments in countries like South Africa and the wider region.

Last year, German companies had invested around €1.6 billion ($1.68 billion) in Africa, Habeck said, adding: “That is encouraging, but still far from enough.”

South African Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel also said much more could be done on trade.

Compared to its investment in North America or Asia, for example, the German economy is not very heavily invested in Africa.

Habeck said earlier that one-sided dependencies, for example on important raw materials, must be avoided, supply routes must be broadened and new markets opened up.

Increased investment will also help Germany compete with China, Habeck added, which has many investments in Africa.

The aim, he said, is to deepen cooperation with Africa on renewable energies, such as wind and solar energy, identifying Africa as an important partner in the fight against the climate crisis.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa did not attend the conference as planned. He is facing serious corruption allegations.

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