Scholz's East Africa trip to address regional conflict, green energy
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aims to discuss the conflict in Sudan, signal his support for the peace process in Ethiopia and explore cooperation on green hydrogen with Kenya during his trip to East Africa this week, officials said on Tuesday.
Scholz's three-day stay in Ethiopia and Kenya, which will include a business delegation, is his second official visit to Africa as chancellor as the West increasingly vies for influence and trade worldwide with other powers, notably China.
In Ethiopia, he will meet on Thursday with the prime minister and the interim leader of the Tigray region to discuss progress in ensuring peace after a two-year war that killed tens of thousands of people, the German government officials told a briefing.
He will also meet with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss the latest developments in Sudan, economic cooperation and global challenges such as climate change.
On Friday, he will meet the president of Kenya, East Africa's biggest economy, to discuss trade and other issues.
Asked if Scholz would address the Ukraine war, the officials said he always sought to explain the West's point of view and address the global implications such as rising food insecurity and energy prices.
On Saturday, Scholz will visit Africa's biggest geothermal plant, at Lake Naivasha, in the geologically active Great Rift Valley, which is key to Kenya's plans for producing green hydrogen.
The German officials played down the possibility of any imminent deal on cooperation on green hydrogen.
Instead, the German development agency GIZ would hold a forum on the topic during the visit within the framework of Germany's long-standing energy partnership which derives 90% of its power from renewable energy sources.
"Kenya is a leader on the African continent on climate protection and renewables and has enormous convening power, so the chancellor's visit also aims to strengthen that," one official said.
Kenya was interested in producing green hydrogen to use in fertilizer production but could potentially export to Germany in future if supply was extensive, the officials said.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh, editing by Ed Osmond)