With the Group of 20 (G20) Summit occurring in Germany this weekend, political leaders, presidents, and prime ministers from twenty nations are gathering to discuss economic matters germane to their nation and the Group. Though the international threat concerning North Korea’s advancement of ICBMs will certainly be addressed, the Summit also presents an opportunity to deliberate issues germane to the Group’s cohesion. A region of the world which can benefit from such deliberation is Africa, an area in which foreign investment is surging. Investments within the continent, though multi-faceted, mostly center on international development and renewable energy. An African power and utility website, ESI Africa, reports that the continent contains a wealth of renewable energy sources, from geothermal energy to solar energy. Moreover, Africa’s prevalence to the international community presents an interesting time for the region. Because of increased diplomatic relationships, Africa has undergone a revitalization in renewable energy development. Investments in Africa have been allocated to the most fundamental of human needs, most of which revolve around electricity, food, and housing. International development and engineering organizations have flocked to the continent in hopes of completing projects which will facilitate the process of daily life.
Last month, during the G20-Africa Partnership Conference in Berlin, leaders from African nations including Morocco, Rwanda, and Tunisia discussed the viability of further investments in agriculture. This year, as reported by Devex, investment into the African continent will continue with over $300 million of investment into the continent, something that is being referred to, in reverence to the same plan which aided Germany after World War II, as the Marshall Plan. Composed by Germany’s Development Minister, Gerd Müller, The Marshall Plan proposes fostering a climate of trade, “in areas such as education, trade, business development and energy.” Some of the details surrounding this Plan, according to The Daily Vox (a South African website), fall under three categories, “trade and employment; peace and security; and democracy and the rule of law.” In addition, Chancellor Merkel is expected to present this plan at the G20 Summit in the hopes that the Plan receives more support from other nations within the Group, before it receives approval.
The renewable energy industry has flourished as numerous engineering groups attempt to provide solutions to environmental challenges. With at least seven of the world’s sunniest nations throughout Africa, solar farm and solar panel construction can seamlessly provide substantial relief to energy deficiencies. Reuters reports that engineering groups have constructed solar panels to alleviate the process in which refugees would walk miles to access water. One group in particular – Water Mission – has provided clean water for over 250,000 refugees across Africa. Similarly, The New Yorker reports that interest in providing solar farms throughout Africa has increased in prevalence because of decreased costs associated with its construction. The New Yorker also reports that there are solar panel companies from the U.S. that have expanded their reach throughout Africa. As a second source of renewable energy, wind energy, is being developed throughout Northern Africa. However, due to inaccessibility and unreliability in some parts of the continent, wind energy is being employed to export the excess energy to other parts of Africa.
Above, Chancellor Angela Merkel can be seen with Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou. Despite Africa’s placement in the G20 being formally limited to South Africa, the European Union has taken what some would consider a leadership role ensuring that African development increases. On the other hand, this Summit is not met without controversy. The Marshall Plan can, by some, also be perceived as a measure to combat the ongoing European immigration, migration, and refugee crises. Despite this view of The Marshall Plan and Africa’s involvement in the G20, the Summit will serve as another focal point for the direction of African development and African infrastructure.
Christopher Pratts is a contributor for Politicsay. Christopher graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Global Technology and Development and Interdisciplinary Studies. Christopher’s work focuses on human development, immigration rights, international development, and LGBT rights in Africa and Latin America.