Germany boosts aid to UN in Africa to stem refugee influx

Germany stresses need to improve people's lives in their home country as it struggles to cope with refugees.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Millions of people try to reach Europe for a better life.

Germany pledged a $67.44 million hike in funding for United Nations relief campaigns in Africa in order to stem the influx of refugees heading towards Europe.

Germany has become a magnet for people fleeing war and violence in Middle East and Africa and the country's foreign minister said "the money will allow people to be cared for near their homes so they don't have to make the dangerous journey to Europe."

Nearly one million refugee have reached to Europe since 2015 and thousands have died en route. Still, many continue to make desperate journeys through desert and by sea on rickety, overloaded boats to European shores.

The extra funding, announced by foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Berlin, raises Germany’s total contribution to UNHCR for 2016 to $3.29 million.

The plan is part of a broader undertaking by Germany and other EU states to curb illegal migration from Africa, with Chancellor Angela Merkel underscoring the need to improve conditions there so people do not leave in the first place.

The International Organization for Migration said last week that 4,220 migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean this year.

An African refugee lies on the ground after crossing a border fence between Morocco and Spain's north African enclave of Ceuta October 31, 2016.

Germany has struggled to cope with the influx of refugees and popular far-right movements that have risen against them.

Last Sunday, Germany Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere proposed that the European Union adopt an Australian-style system under which migrants intercepted at sea are sent for processing at camps in third countries such as Tunisia or Egypt.

The Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the plan, which would amount to a huge shift for a country that has had one of Europe’s most open asylum policies.

TRTWorld and agencies