Scholz’s Visit Highlights Africa’s Potential Leverage in Global Politics

Scholz’s Visit Highlights Africa’s Potential Leverage in Global Politics
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hands over an invitation to the G-7 Summit in Elmau to Senegalese President Macky Sall, before a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, May 22, 2022 (DPA photo by Michael Kappeler via AP Images).

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made his inaugural visit to Africa with a three-nation tour that began in Senegal and concluded in South Africa. His trip came a little over three months after a visit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was abruptly cut short by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ongoing crisis there and its geopolitical ramifications—including for food and energy security, international security and the future of the international system more broadly—were prominent features of Scholz’s visit. 

The salience of those issues is reflected in the countries on Scholz’s itinerary. Senegal is regarded as a regional pillar of stability and a key Western partner, and it currently holds the chairmanship of the African Union and is a new G-7 partner country. It is also home to the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim, an offshore liquefied natural gas project sitting on Senegal’s maritime border with Mauritania. Niger, a critical regional security partner and a major transit point for irregular migration across the Mediterranean, is set to become the linchpin of France’s counterterrorism mission in the Sahel. It also hosts about 200 German troops stationed there as part of Operation Gazelle, a European Union training mission. And South Africa, a continental heavyweight with Africa’s third-largest economy and a hydrogen industry that is becoming increasingly attractive to European countries, serves as a continental hub for many German companies. It has also arguably been the continent’s most prominent voice in recent years on key international issues ranging from vaccine equity and international climate finance to staking out common African stances on the war in Ukraine.

Scholz’s West Africa visit is the latest in a string of recent high-profile diplomatic visits and events in the region. Last year, the eighth edition of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, was held in Dakar, Senegal, marking the first time the meeting was held in West Africa. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also visited Senegal and Nigeria in November 2021. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made two trips to West Africa in as many months, visiting Togo, Nigeria and Senegal. And most recently, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a three-nation tour of Senegal, Niger and Nigeria.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review