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Political Directorate-General 3

Political Directorate-General 3 shapes relations with countries and regions in Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, as well as the Middle East. These parts of the world include a range of very different states:
  • key new players in the 21st century such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa which, due to their dynamic development, are becoming increasingly influential linchpins in international politics and without which the major global challenges of the 21st century cannot be resolved;
  • numerous countries which are undergoing positive political and economic development;
  • states which are at risk of being left behind by globalization;
  • fragile states as well as actual or potential crisis regions.

These four continents thus present German foreign policy, as well as German business and society, with great opportunities as well as risks.

Focal areas

The Directorate-General’s work thus focuses on the following areas:

  • stepping up cooperation with key new players in all spheres and ensuring that they shoulder responsibility for resolving global challenges;
  • supporting the efforts of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East for sustainable development and expanding political, economic, academic, cultural and societal relations with them;
  • helping to stabilize weak or even fragile states, and
  • endeavouring to prevent the development of crises or, if necessary, helping to resolve them.

Germany does not act alone here but through the European Union, in cooperation with our transatlantic partners, within the framework of the appropriate multinational fora and in cooperation with civil society players. In turn, Germany is relying on stronger regional integration among partner countries (such as ASEAN, the African Union, MERCOSUR, the Arab League, etc.). Germany closely coordinates its policy on countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East with its EU partners, both by means of regular meetings in Brussels and among the embassies of the EU and its member states on the ground, and as a member state supports the European Union’s relations with regional groups or individual countries.

Broad-based partnerships

The share in global GDP and world trade of countries with rapidly growing economies in the four regions in question will greatly increase in the coming decades. Their political clout and international responsibility will thus also increase. In order to take this into account, Germany is stepping up its diplomatic contacts via the Federal Foreign Office and our missions abroad and is developing strategic partnerships and dialogues at high and at the very highest level in which the whole range of political, economic and social issues are discussed.

In addition to bilateral and international political issues, the expansion of trade and investment, raw materials partnerships, the dismantling of non-tariff trade barriers and all other issues related to economic cooperation are discussed and solutions sought within this framework.

Germany is providing assistance within the scope of economic cooperation to many of those countries which still have to overcome obstacles to development.

The countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America are home to our planet’s rainforest belt and an immense variety of species. Environmental protection, the efforts to combat climate change and the preservation of biodiversity thus play a vital role in our relations.

Especially in view of the many shortcomings which individual states within the remit of Directorate-General 3 still have in development in the areas of democracy and the rule of law, implementing the fundamental principles of a values-based German foreign policy is of special importance. The Directorate-General thus pays great attention to the following issues in its relations with these countries:

  • strengthening of open, pluralistic and democratic structures;
  • recognition and respect for human rights;
  • development of a functioning state based on the rule of law, an independent judiciary;
  • efficient governance.

Crisis and conflict management

Unfortunately, some of the countries in the regions which fall under the remit of Directorate-General 3 are still fragile and potential sources of internal and regional conflict. Together with other members of the international community, in particular our European partners and within the United Nations, Germany seeks to help stabilize these countries through crisis prevention, economic development, strengthened political structures, but if necessary also through crisis management, including peacemaking and peacekeeping measures. To this end, Germany is also keen for the crisis management capabilities of regional associations, for example the African Union and its regional organizations, to be improved. Combating terrorism and organized crime, in particular preventing the emergence of areas which are largely uncontrolled and lacking state structures, serves to protect the local population suffering as a result of this lawlessness as well as our own security interests.

The Directorate-General is headed by Clemens von Goetze. He is supported by four Regional Directors for Africa, Asia, Latin America as well as the Near and Middle East and the Maghreb, the Personal Representative of the Federal Foreign Minister for the Arab World and 14 divisions.

Click here to find texts which cover cross-cutting priorities of German foreign policy, such as the changes which swept the Arab world, relations with Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as trouble spots such as Afghanistan.