Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be visiting the small West African nation of The Gambia, the first for a European leader to visit the country in decades.
European nations have been focused on Gambia, bailing the country out of insolvency after a two-month political logjam that saw the former authoritarian ruler, Yahya Jammeh sent to exile.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former Prime Minister Tony Blair have all visited Banjul since Jammeh’s ouster and Barrow has visited France earlier this year.
“The German president’s visit will be a recognition of the democratic change and support for the stabilization of The Gambia,” said Prince Sankanu, a Gambian filmmaker in Germany.
A good junk of Gambian migrants live in Germany and number has seen increased significantly amid Europe’s migration crisis. Thousands of Gambians have left the country and moved to Europe with many seeking protection in Germany.
EU leaders rescued Gambia’s economy to help the country keep its young people at home. It released more than $85 million to The Gambia, the majority of which was part of $38 million aid funds that were frozen.
Steinmeier will also visit Ghana and migration will be a key focus in talks between Steinmeier, Barrow and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo. Gambians make the third largest arrival per capita to Europe through the Mediterranean.
The perilous journey has wiped out the youth population is some of the small nation’s villages. Many Gambian migrants reported torture and inhumane treatment. Some sold into slavery and kidnapped for forced labor. Many have equally died in the sea.
Steinmeier is facing a political crisis in his own country. Nearly two months after Germany’s general election, talks aimed at forming a three-party coalition between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), the Free Democratic Party and the Greens have collapsed.
The FDP walked out of a late-night round of negotiations on Sunday, saying it had been impossible to reach a compromise on migration and the environment.