German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier departed for a four-day trip to Africa on Monday as he aims to expand existing economic partnerships and establish new ones.
Steinmeier will be accompanied by a business delegation on his visits, first to Tanzania and then to Zambia.
Steinmeier meets with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday. Suluhu has been in office since March 2021 and is seen as a champion of democratic reforms in the once autocratically-ruled country.
The German government has praised Tanzania’s first female president for affording protections to the political opposition and for her commitment to the rule of law and human rights.
Steinmeier will be confronted with a dark chapter of German history in the East African country when he meets with descendants of victims of the Maji Maji Rebellion.
With up to 300,000 killed, this was one of the bloodiest colonial wars ever. In the conflict, which was fought from 1905 to 1907, the population rebelled against the oppression of German colonial rule.
Today’s Tanzania belonged to the colony of German East Africa, which existed from 1885 to 1918. It also included the present-day states of Burundi, Rwanda, and a small part of Mozambique.
Zambia, the second stop on the trip, will be new territory for a German president. Never before has a German head of state visited the landlocked country bordering Tanzania to the south-west.
After talks with President Hakainde Hichilema, Steinmeier will learn about nature and species conservation on the Zambezi River as well as the impacts of climate change.
Tanzania is about two and a half times the size of Germany. According to the World Bank, it has about 65 million people. The country is politically stable and has one of the strongest economies in the sub-Saharan region.
In contrast, Zambia, with about 20 million people, had to declare insolvency in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Both countries have raw materials of interest to Germany – gold, graphite, and nickel in Tanzania, and copper in Zambia.