Germany debates co-operation with Eritrea: “progress has halted”

Interesting that it is the far-right, neo-fascist Alternative for Germany (AFD) that thinks it would be a great idea to increase cooperation with Eritrea.

Democratic parties are far more questioning.

Source: das parlament

Johanna Metz

No chance for cooperation with Eritrea

Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in the world. About every second of the approximately 3.5 million inhabitants lives below the poverty line. Only mining and the export of copper and zinc are profitable there, with the exception of China, foreign investors are avoiding the country. The reason is Isayas Afewerki’s regime. 

Since Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993, the president has abolished parliament, other parties, the free media, the rule of law and non-governmental organizations. There have been no elections for a long time. Countless detainees are held in prisons, and Eritreans in exile report on the disappeared, torture, child labor and other serious violations of human rights. Conditions caused 41,530 people to flee in 2018 alone.

The difficult situation is unlikely to change much in the future. Because, despite the “great development potential”, the Federal Government foreseeably sees no chance for bilateral development cooperation with the state. “The leadership rejects any cooperation,” said Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Norbert Barthle (CSU), last week in the development committee. It shows no interest in improving trade relations, although Eritrea is even entitled to duty-free and quota-free access to the European market. A dialogue on human rights in the country is also not desired. “Unlike in Ethiopia, progress has stopped in Eritrea,” concluded Barthle.

AfD application rejected 

The AfD group still urges the federal government to continue to approach the country. The problems are known, said a parliamentary group representative in the committee, but investment and potential should still be promoted. The AfD is convinced that with an economic upturn, politics will also change. But the other groups did not share this view. They refused an application (19/15071 ) of the AfD with the title “Starting and organizing economic cooperation with Eritrea”.

A member of the Union faction declared that the Eritrean government was not willing to change. In addition, human rights aspects should in no way be excluded from development cooperation.

The FDP also insisted on value-based DC, President Afewerki must be accused of violating human rights. The FDP, left-wing parliamentary group and the Greens also expressed the supposition that the AfD’s aim is less for the welfare of the people in Eritrea than for the country’s profitable mining sector and the opportunity to create new sales markets for German companies.

The SPD said that no one could be forced to help. All attempts by the federal government to build bilateral relations have been unsuccessful or openly rejected. A representative of the Greens accused Afewerki of blocking any international cooperation to prevent the serious human rights violations from being exposed in the past three decades.


  1. Fantastic and well done Germany. Eritrea does not deserve cooperation nor a penny in aid from Germany , the EU nor the UK while it is led by a lunatic who can’t see beyond his nose.

    Eritrea will soon become an independent country and we shall remember Germany for its kindness in our hour of need. Thank you.

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