Shaping the Future with Africa – The New Africa Strategy of the BMZ
Africa’s development is affected by geopolitical, demographic as well as economic changes. At the same time, African countries are important partners in tackling global challenges. Against this background, the BMZ presented its new Africa strategy to shape a joint future during a launch event on January 24, 2023. The plan forms the conceptual and strategic framework for the BMZ's Africa policy and is an update of the Marshall Plan with Africa of the previous government. New approaches in the context of decentralisation, local governance and democracy also play an important role to address global, continental and local challenges and chances together.
Fairness, respect and reciprocity are the main principles of the new attitude in cooperation, according to Svenja Schulze, Minister of the BMZ: “We voice our values and interests, but also listen, thus building trust and partnerships to give us a sound basis in the new multipolar world order.”
The strategy has three overarching goals:
Structurally supporting the development goals set by the African Union (AU) and its member states (AU Agenda 2063);
Working together to achieve a global transformation so that all people can live in dignity and security in an integrated environment (United Nations 2030 Agenda);
Responding to the crisis together, with apparent solidarity with Europe’s neighbors.
All in all, the BMZ’s Africa policy is “to become more social, more environmental and more feminist”, which is also reflected within all six focus areas/sectors of the new strategy:
sustainable economic development, employment and prosperity
overcoming poverty and hunger and building social protection
health and pandemic prevention
feminist development policy and gender equality
rule of law, democracy, human rights, and good governance
peace and security.
Decentralisation, good governance and democratic principles on a subnational and local level are cross-sectoral issues and characterize the BMZ’s cooperation within all six focus areas with its African partner countries. At this level, Tthe active participation of the population in political consensus-building and decision-making is central. It is also important to protect the space open for action for civil societies, which is dramatically shrinking in a lot of African countries. Digitalisation is one key element to promote more participation, dialogue and transparency in public life. Achieving these goals, the BMZ works closely together with local political foundations, church organisations, municipalities, media organisations and private agencies.
The many ongoing subnational and local efforts as well as initiatives for decentralisation, local governance and democratic principles, initiated by these key partners – and supported by national and international practitioners and experts – also show, how important it is to bundle these practical lessons learned. Making this knowledge accessible to the public, as well as to offer a platform for dialogue, partnership and joint learning, is the mission of DeLoG with its diverse global partners.
In the beginning of the year 2023, the DeLoG secretariat launched three working groups on the thematic priorities of local governance and 1) gender, 2) local democracy and 3) inclusive local finance. The priorities covered by the DeLoG network and its partners therefore also coincide with the recently presented Africa strategy of the BMZ on sustainable economic development, gender equality as well as good governance and democracy.
Click here to find more information about BMZ’s Africa strategy.