merkel in niger

Fight brain drain, set higher education standards, Merkel tells Niger leader

German chancellor Angela Merkel has urged African countries to fight brain drain and develop higher educational standards by, for instance, using European aid to finance schools and training schemes in order to avoid massive migration to Europe.

Merkel, unpopular at home but loved abroad, made this call early this week in Niamey, the capital of Niger, where she had held bilateral talks with President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Merkel’s three-day visit to Africa comes at the time when thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have died trying to get to Europe via the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

“The chancellor and I agreed that we have to curb irregular migration, especially people trying to migrate through the desert and dying by the hundreds,” Issoufou told journalists at a joint press conference after meeting Merkel.

“It is very important that African countries do not lose their best brains,” Merkel was quoted by Deutsche Welle (DW) as saying.

The German leader has reiterated her government’s support to the West African nation in its fight against Islamist militants and the effects of climate change.

Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel chats to Niger President Mahamadu Issoufou in Niamey. credit: DW/DPA

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