Germany’s Africa Politics: Renewal of an Unequal Cooperation? Etudes de l'Ifri, September 2021
In recent years, Germany’s Africa politics have been characterized by proactive international initiatives and the claim for a "partnership at eye level". However, a look at the power constellations of its cooperation indicates that inequalities are – contrary to Germany’s own claims – rather reproduced than reduced.
A historical account of German-African relations shows that the colonial legacy still strongly shapes cooperation today. A consequent discussion of current configurations and actors in Germany’s Africa policy reveals a moderately coordinated mosaic of schemes that is geared to geopolitical interests. The imperative to reduce migration is revealed to function as the central domestic legitimization for German engagements with African states, having problematic implications for human rights. Another hallmark is the promotion of Germany’s businesses through policies of liberalization, carrying political/economic risks on the local level. The promising cooperation on climate issues is currently dominated by German visions for transformation, while approaches of critical partnership are becoming visible in cultural policy projects. The contribution concludes with practical perspectives for emancipatory German-African cooperation.
Aram Ziai teaches at the University in Kassel in the degree courses Political Sciences and Global Political Economy and Development. Prior to that he taught at the Universities of Amsterdam, Vienna, Accra, Tehran, Bonn, and Hamburg. From 2009 to 2021 he acted as the spokesperson of the section dealing with Development Theory and Development Policy at the German Union for Political Sciences.
Adrian Schlegel studied Political Sciences and Administration Studies and is currently part of the Global Studies Program with a focus on social sciences of the University Jawaharlal Nehru, the University of Pretoria, and the Humboldt University in Berlin. He is dealing with questions like decolonization and global solidarity.
This publication is available the following languages (pdf):
- FRENCH: "La politique africaine de l’Allemagne : vers la reconduction d’un modèle de coopération asymétrique ?"
- GERMAN: "Die deutsche Afrikapolitik: Erneuerung einer ungleichen Zusammenarbeit?"