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Anfang 2017 238

 Germany’s New Africa Policy – In Need of a Departure

Robert Kappel

GIGA Focus Africa, No. 1, March 2017 | ISSN 1862-3603

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has issued a new Africa policy. Despite it being rhetorically strong, being well organised, and having been effectively publicised, open questions remain. The BMZ wants to curb the further marginalisation of Africa through inclusive and sustainable growth. At the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel will explain the federal government’s new Africa policy and look to garner support from the other G20 members for focused cooperation with Africa.

  • The onus is solely on the African states to take their development into their own hands. Cooperation can merely support them in this task; it does not relieve them of this responsibility.
  • The “Marshall Plan with Africa” aims to jointly develop an agenda with the countries of Africa. However, as no African states participated in the plan’s conceptual development, it has hitherto been a “plan for Africa” showing how the BMZ intends to contribute to sustainable economic growth.
  • Africa is extremely diverse. It is important to develop the different speeds of economic development in different African countries through joint strategies with individual nations or groups of countries. This is largely missing from the German government’s current Africa strategy paper.
  • A coherent Africa policy requires more involvement by key ministries and more overall management by the federal chancellor.

Policy Implications

Germany’s Africa policy must reposition itself. The Marshall Plan has signalled some movement; however, it alone is not capable of breaking the traditional pattern of development cooperation. A new era based on strengthening cooperation with reformable democratic countries in Africa and dealing boldly and consistently with non-democratic countries has not yet begun.

Full text download (in German): https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/system/files/publications/gf_afrika_1701.pdf