Russia has recently redoubled its efforts to develop closer ties with the African continent, including in the military sphere. Moscow even organised the first-ever Russia-Africa forum in October 2019 and sent some of its military advisers to the Central African Republic to train the country’s soldiers, at the behest of the nation’s government.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the country’s parliament on 27 November to review its stance on weapons sales restrictions in order to enable arms supplies to African countries, namely in the Sahel region to the south of the Sahara desert. She argued that their success in this field is directly linked to Germany’s security, calling it “one of the most serious problems we face at the moment”.
Berlin has been helping Mali to combat terrorist groups since 2013, deploying its own troops the country. Merkel stressed that while Germany is training the military in African countries to fight the terrorist threat, it has failed to provide them with the means to do so – namely weapons. But the security of African countries, however, was not the only thing causing her concern.
“I ask myself, is it in our interest if Africa is armed by Russia, or perhaps China or Saudi Arabia? I don’t think we can encourage stability and peace in Africa, yet refuse to supply any arms. We cannot train people who have to fight terrorists, only to say it’s up to them to see where they get their weapons”, the chancellor stated.