Explicitly invoking the American aid initiative that rebuilt Western Europe's devastated infrastructure and weakened economies after World War II as a bulwark against Communist expansionism, the German government has unveiled an ambitious framework for a "Marshall Plan with Africa" (Eckpunkte für einen Marshallplan mit Afrika) with the twin objectives of increasing trade and development on the continent and, it hoped, of consequently reducing mass migration flows northward across the Mediterranean.
Africa is the focus of the current German G20 presidency and the Marshall Plan for the continent will likely figure prominently in the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. The European Union is likewise working on a new Africa strategy ahead of the EU-Africa Summit, scheduled for November. Whether the Germans and other European countries will ultimately find the money and deploy the political will necessary to actually implement their big plans for Africa remains to be seen. Nevertheless the United States has a lot of catch up to do in bringing the public and private sectors together to forge a robust US approach to the new Africa, whose rising geopolitical importance and burgeoning economic dynamism ought to make it a strategic priority in the new administration, even without the threat of migrant waves that weigh so heavily on European calculations.