German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Senegal on Wednesday as she begins a three-country tour of West Africa.
Berlin says it hopes the visit will help stem migration and boost the fight against jihadism in the sub-region.
Merkel was accompanied by around a dozen German business leaders on the trip as she also looks to strengthen trade ties on the continent.
On her arrival in Dakar late Wednesday the German leader was greeted by Senegalese president Macky Sall and a guard of honour by dozens of Senegalese marines.
After the playing of the national anthems, the military orchestra belted out two popular German songs, including “Schoene Maid, hast Du heut’ fur mich Zeit”, which roughly translates to “Beautiful maiden, do you have time for me today?”
Merkel has placed a strong focus on African diplomacy in recent years, and has called on African countries to do their bit in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe — an issue over which she faces criticism at home.
Like China and more recently Britain’s Theresa May, export-nation Germany is also eagerly eyeing the burgeoning economic potential of resource-rich African nations with young, dynamic citizens.
In Ghana, Merkel plans to visit a start-up hub and in Nigeria she will meet with ECOWAS head Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
The push for closer economic ties is part of a wider bid to help stabilise African countries in the long run, offering youngsters opportunities at home in the hope of dissuading them from setting off for Europe.