The German chancellor is visiting countries that contribute heavily towards migrant flows heading to Europe, and that has many questioning her motives.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting three West African states for to discuss finances, migration, and security.
The three day visit will cover Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger, all part of the G5 Sahel bloc of countries.
The countries contribute heavily towards migration flows from Sub-Saharan Africa to the European continent, and cover an area stretching from the Atlantic coastline to Sudan.
Niger on the main route of migration
The total number of migrants landing in Europe between 2010 and 2017 from sub-Saharan Africa was at least one million, according to the latest Pew Research Center report on migration flows from the African continent to Europe.
European countries mostly affected by migration over the Mediterranean Sea have attempted to stem migration via foreign aid to African governments. However, such attempts have led to massive human rights violations in Libya and Niger.
Niger is a strategically important partner of the EU in the fight against illegal migration.
Though tts citizens barely travel to Europe, the country is an important part of the itinerary for many West African migrants.
Merkel last visited the country in October 2016 and it currently receives the EU's highest development aid payments per capita.
Criticism by Niger
Before the German chancellor visited Niger this Thursday, the government of the African country criticised Germany and the EU for not doing enough to help.
"Considering the role we have played in reducing refugee flows, we have not benefited substantially from investments," Niger's Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum told a German newspaper.
"We are experiencing a small disappointment in this respect."
In the next few years his country expects further EU funding for road infrastructure and health care - and also hopes for a more "flexible" use of the money.
"We need to accept more and more commitments in relation to security challenges," Bazoum said.
"If a country is not stable, it is impossible for it to develop. It doesn't matter how large the available resources are."
Crisis in Libya
Late Wednesday evening, Merkel and the presidents of the G5-Sahel bloc stressed the importance of a solution to the Libyan crisis.
Libya is "always a source of new terrorist threats", Merkel said.
Merkel said that the EU's support for the Sahel countries had got off to a good start.
"But some things take too long from the perspective of the countries concerned, of course," she said.