NAIROBI, Jan 19, 2004 (Xinhua) — Germany will offer financial aid to the Sudan to support the peace initiative, a German official said here on Monday ahead of a two-day visit by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
“We expect to Schroeder to contribute some money to Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat for the Sudan to help in the peace process,” Sebastian Groth, press officer at the Germany Embassy to Kenya told Xinhua.
Growth said his country is willing to help stabilize the Sudan following any final peace deal to end its 20-year civil war.
“Schroeder will use his visit to assess how Germany will contribute or provide financial support to the implementation of the peace accord in the Sudan,” the official said.
Schroeder’s trip to Africa, his first to the continent since he took office in 1998, started on Sunday and takes him to Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana through Jan. 24.
He is due in Kenya late Monday with a 100-member business delegation.
“Schroeder’s visit is an expression of confidence in Kenyan President (Mwai) Kibaki’s government and is in recognition of Kenya’s initiative in conflict resolution both in the east and central Africa,” the German official noted.
Schroeder intends to promote the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the continent’s plan to eradicate poverty, and commends the Kenyan role in the peace processes for the Sudan and Somalia, the official said.
“The chancellor will express Germany’s appreciation to Kenya’s involvement in the two peace processes and especially the role being played by Kenyan special envoy to Sudan peace process, ( Lazaro) Sumbeiywo,” Groth said.
He noted that his country had arrears amounting to 80 million euros in which the chancellor will be looking for ways of settling to help the war-torn African nation.
“The European Union is contributing about 480 million euros ( about 610 million US dollars) annually to the Sudan and Germany contributes the first quarter of that amount,” Groth added.
The chancellor is the first key leader of a European nation to visit Kenya since President Kibaki assumed power.
Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl was the last German leader to visit Kenya in 1987.
At State House, the two leaders will witness the signing of a ” joint statement of intent” with the World Bank representative Makhtar Diop, concerning the water sector and later together with his delegation explore various investment opportunities in Kenya.