German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged 17 million euros (19 million dollars) in direct aid to Niger to support the creation of jobs and thereby reduce Europe-bound migration flows.

Merkel met Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou on Monday, the second day of a three-day African tour that includes visits to Mali and Ethiopia.

Niger, located in West Africa, is one of the most important transit countries for hundreds of thousands of refugees every year towards Libya and further to the Mediterranean.

Following their meeting in the country's capital of Niamey, Merkel said she and Issoufou shared support for security and improved economic development.

Issoufou advocated cooperation on migration issues, but he also demanded significantly more EU aid money. He called for a kind of Marshall Plan for Africa, adding that the EU's 1.8-billion-euro budget, reserved for curbing migration through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was far from sufficient.

Niger alone needed about 1 billion euros for its action plan, Issoufou said.

Merkel expressed cautious support for the idea and stressed the need to use funds efficiently.

German aid will include vehicles for the Nigerien army, Merkel said.

The chancellor was also scheduled to visit a school and a regional office of the International Organization for Migration, and to meet German soldiers who fly supplies to German peacekeepers in Mali.

The first day of Merkel's trip took her to Mali, another country regarded as a key transit point for migrants heading for Europe.

There, she pledged to increase cooperation to boost development in northern Mali, where Islamist militant groups operate and where more than 550 German soldiers are participating in a UN peacekeeping mission.

Germany recorded the arrival of 890,000 migrants in 2015, many of whom had fled conflict in Syria and Afghanistan and economic hardship across the African continent.

On Tuesday, Merkel is scheduled to visit Ethiopia, where the government on Saturday declared a state of emergency over violent anti-government protests in the Oromia region.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was meanwhile visiting Nigeria, where he said that the country had recorded its "first successes" in the fight against the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Steinmeier, who met President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit, also stressed the need to fight corruption in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. Nigeria is "a powerhouse with huge opportunities, but also with dangers," the minister said.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.