German and European Africa Policy. How to bring in African expertise?

Datum: 10.06.2022
Uhrzeit: 14:00 - 15:04
Ort: Freiburg
ICS/iCal: Event speichern

Africa policies of external actors such as governments, intergovernmental agencies and development agencies are informed not only by interests and perceptions of policymakers. They are also informed by analyses provided by specialised organisations providing policy advice. Very often, such organisations are based in the Global North, or more precisely, in capitals of individual nation-states or in headquarters of international organisations. Expert networks usually look like closed circles for many African observers, both those on the continent and in the diaspora. This roundtable seeks to address the issues of (mis-)representation and inclusion/exclusion of African expertise in Africa policy-making processes in Germany and in Europe.

Quality, representation and legitimacy of policy advice given to policymakers in closed circles is under growing scrutiny across different thematic sectors and in many democracies around the globe. Allegations of dependence and lack of neutrality (even of ‘lobbyism’), but also of outright misrepresentation abound. When it comes to European Africa policies, such allegations are often underpinned by the assumption that neo-colonial attitude is predominant in policymaking circles – as well as in international Summits that include Africa or where African issues are discussed. This neo-colonial attitude can be summarised as “Africa is a problem; Europe has the solution”. At the same time, the number of think-tanks within African countries has grown significantly, even though only very few get recognition for their work outside the continent.

The situation is gradually changing in Europe. A vocal group of actors has emerged in recent years that challenges the policy orthodoxy. Black Germans, diaspora groups and African professionals are increasingly claiming the space and seeking to channel the expertise of Africans, both on the continent and in the diaspora, towards informing Africa-focused-policies in the EU and in member-states such as Germany.

The hope is that bringing in a different set of perspectives would enrich the debate and widen the scope of potential actions by generating original and fresh recommendations – something that is very much required.

The roundtable seeks to engage with this topic and discus issues such as

• What are the mutual perceptions and expectations between African and diaspora policy experts on the one hand and European policymakers on the other? What are the prospects of cooperation?

• How can access of European/German policymakers to African expertise be improved?

• How can access of African experts/think-tanks to European policymakers be improved?

• What roles are there for “established” German/European institutions and associations in this dynamic interplay?


Olumide Abimbola (APRI - Africa Policy Research Institute)
Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (European Parliament)
Boniface Mabanza (KASAWerkstatt Ökonomie e.V.)

Chair: Andreas Mehler (Arnold Bergstraesser Institute)


Arnold Bergtstraesser Institute/ABI, Africa Policy Research Institute/APRI: