Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, traveled to Benin and Togo to promote partnership in January 2016. Müller hopes the increased funding will allow both countries to make advances in sustainable agriculture and, ultimately, help eradicate hunger.
“You need more than just water and fertilizer for agriculture,” Minister Müller said in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation’s Jan. 3 press release. “You also need knowledge and innovation!”
More than one-third of Benin’s population and over half of Togo’s population is living in poverty, according to the World Bank. For this reason, “advancing food security and providing job prospects in these two partner countries of German development cooperation are so important,” the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation’s press release also stated.
Gerd Müller announced Benin would receive €20 million to support agricultural innovation at the inauguration of the green innovation center in Cotonou, Benin. Green innovation centers are part of A World Without Hunger, an initiative of Germany and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
“The centers provide innovative technologies and extension services and thus help to increase smallholders’ incomes, create employment opportunities and improve the food situation in rural areas,” the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation said.
While in Togo, Müller inaugurated the first vocational training course for motorcycle mechanics based on the dual system, which provides an apprenticeship in a company while the student earns a vocational education.
“Togo is a young and vibrant country,” Müller said. “That is why the country needs more than modern technology and an enabling environment. More than anything else, it needs its people – qualified workers.”
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is working with Togo to establish a dual system of vocational training for five trades.
“Togo is an anchor of stability in West Africa, and must remain so,” Gerd Müller said. “That is why we want to help create better prospects for the people living there through better vocational education and training, better agricultural yields, and better conditions for investments in Togo’s economy.”
Müller also announced in the Jan. 4, 2016 press release for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation that Togo would receive €6.5 million to innovate agricultural methods and fight hunger.
– Summer Jackson