Which strategy is Germany pursuing with regard to this rapidly changing continent? The German Government Policy Guidelines for Africa, developed by the German Foreign Office, set out approaches to taking opportunities, tackling risks and overcoming crises.
With more than one billion people, 54 countries and seven different linguistic groups, as well as Muslims, Christians, Jews and countless tribal religions, the African continent is home to societies with very different cultural and religious identities and traditions. Anyone who intends to do justice to these countries with a foreign policy strategy must first cast off simplistic prejudices that often continue to dominate in perceptions of Africa.
Africa plays an important role
The global migration movements of recent times are just one of many examples of the fact that developments on the African continent can have a direct impact on Germany and Europe within the shortest space of time. A long-term foreign policy strategy must therefore take a comprehensive approach.
Africa is a continent full of opportunities. Its demographic development, wealth of natural resources and growing middle class have the potential to give rise to gigantic growth markets in the near future. Democratic institutions have been shored up in many countries.
A considerable number of countries are assuming responsibility and are working to resolve conflicts peacefully within the framework of the African Union and other regional organisations. However, many African nations also continue to face great challenges and risks. Growing poverty, systematic human rights violations, violence, environmental degradation and corruption are threatening the development, security and stability of entire regions.
A networked approach
The German Government’s Africa strategy takes a comprehensive, networked approach in its response to rapid change and the risks and opportunities of these developments. The instruments of Germany’s policy on Africa, such as humanitarian assistance, peace missions and development projects, are closely coordinated to this end. The German Government is acting in a decisive and substantive manner that is based on values and human rights and is geared towards mutual interests.
Germany acts in concert with its European partners wherever this is possible. In order to pursue a networked approach, it must be ensured that activities are coordinated and in line with the actions of regional actors (such as the African Union) and international organisations, particularly the United Nations. Germany not only cooperates closely with political institutions, but also works intensively with civil society and the worlds of business, science and culture.
Using instruments to avoid conflict
Germany’s Africa strategy draws on the full spectrum of foreign policy tools in order to prevent crises and instability before they emerge. From police training to trade and investment promotion to an exchange programme for academics, sound state and social structures are strengthened in a targeted manner by various complementary measures.
Boosting African ownership
Boosting African ownership is an important objective of Germany’s efforts. It is vitally important to help people to help themselves not only to support sustainable development, but also for the sake of stability and security. Training programmes of the German Police and the Bundeswehr, for example, are making a valuable contribution to efforts to enhance our African partners’ crisis prevention and conflict management capacities.