Africa Policy Guidelines

27.03.2019 - Article

What is Germany’s strategy on the continent which is changing so rapidly? The Federal Government Africa Policy Guidelines, developed by the Federal Foreign Office, set out approaches to taking opportunities, tackling risks and overcoming crises.

Cityscape of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya
Cityscape of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya© Ute Grabowsky/photothek.de
More than a billion people, 54 countries, 7 different language families and countless religions: societies with very different cultural and religious identities and traditions live on the African continent. 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.

Comprehensive international strategy

Developments on the African continent have a direct impact on Germany and Europe. Current refugee and migration flows show with great clarity that a sustainable foreign policy strategy needs to have a comprehensive approach paired with functioning international cooperation. Sustainable stability following a conflict scenario does not just come about through military missions but also by building up a police force and civil institutions, by promoting good governance and human rights and by creating economic prospects. When that works, people also rebuild trust in a future in their home countries.
German Africa policy takes in the entire spectrum of foreign policy tools to prevent crises and instability. Instruments such as diplomacy, crisis prevention, stabilisation, development cooperation and economic development are closely dovetailed. A particular focus is on early crisis detection and preventive action: from police training to promoting democracy and mediation - stable state and social structures are strengthened by means of targeted measures that complement each other. After a conflict is resolved, it is just as important to strengthen peace, for example through reconciliation work, efforts to strengthen the judiciary and security sector reform. German engagement is geared here to the Federal Government’s guidelines Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts, Building Peace.

Continent of opportunities
Schülerinnen in Mosambik
Schülerinnen in Mosambik© photothek.net

The challenges should not blind us to the fact that Africa is also a continent of opportunities: the wealth of natural resources, a young population and growing SME landscape are the basis for the emergence of dynamic markets.
In many countries, democratic institutions are thriving. Many countries are assuming responsibility and are working to resolve conflicts peacefully within the framework of the African Union and other regional organisations.

Challenges and risks

Workers at the port of Beira, Mozambique
Workers at the port of Beira, Mozambique© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.de

At the same time, huge challenges and risks persist. Economic growth fails to keep pace with the rapid demographic trend. Poverty, often systematic human rights violations, violence, environmental degradation and corruption are threatening the development, security and stability of entire regions. German and European work in Africa is thus also focusing on promoting sustainable growth, private sector engagement and trade with and in African countries. This is the only way to create jobs and prospects in the long term for the continent’s rapidly growing young population.

Have your say!

If you would like to talk about the Federal Government’s Africa policy, why not join in our AfricaDialogue!
The Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel, Ambassador Robert Dölger, keeps you up to date on German Africa policy through his X account @GERonAfrica.

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