Germany’s African Network

June 12, 2020

Jesutimilehin Akamo


This article seeks to examine the prospect of Germany’s network in Africa. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ) GmbH is the case study. GiZ is a private organisation that supports the German government outside Germany. There is evidence that GiZ supports a wide range of projects in Africa. Political gain cannot be ignored. However, German interest in Africa which GiZ represents is not about political power. They emphasize international cooperation to solve development problems in Africa.


Reconstructed Scenario is based on the following judgments:


KJ1. Germany’s African network is effective. Therefore, it is unlikely that GiZ will review its network within the next 10 decade. It is effective, and the major challenges they face is not about the network.


KJ2. It is almost certain that Germany will continue to bankroll several projects in Africa.


KJ3. Therefore, it is highly likely that GiZ will maintain its operations in Africa for the next 3 decades.



Reconstructed Scenario


African countries struggle with rural and urban development. Sustainable infrastructure like water management and energy are problems. Africa hosts many conflicts and environmental threats that affect development. This is compounded by a governance deficit. All these inform GiZ’s intervention. However, Germany’s African policy is the driver. Most Africans countries have a rural population of 50% who live below the poverty line and lack access to social amenities.



GiZ’s Network


Germany’s government officials meet with African governments bilaterally or multilaterally to decide on projects. The German government then commissions it and contract GiZ. Afterwards, the department that oversees Africa sets up a strategy. They develop a GiZ Africa wide policy based on what the German government decides. This department based in Germany, it coordinates GiZ operations in Africa.



There are context-specific groups hosted in GiZ office of African countries. They are in charge of implementation. However, there is a central group that provides a platform for all these groups to work together. For instance, the Addis Group for Peace and Security (AGPS) focusses on peace and security. AGPS consist of several GiZ projects centred on peace and security. These projects link up to find a common ground where they work together to implement projects. Despite cooperation, each of the offices reports back to Germany on their duties.



GiZ in Africa


GiZ operates bilateral and regional offices in Africa. Bilateral offices are in the capital cities. They engage governments. Regional offices interact with regional institutions such as the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). At the bilateral level, for instance, GiZ helps Senegal’s national development strategy. It acts on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GiZ also supports Senegal in terms of renewable energies and energy efficiency.


Priority areas in Kenya include sustainable economic development and employment promotion, and agriculture and food security. There are other projects commissioned by other German ministries which GiZ works on. The proper definition of projects during commissioning affects implementation. If not defined, GiZ faces serious challenges. This is besides the poor commitment of their hosts.



Where is Germany Headed?


Another African working for GiZ emphasised that Germany’s interest in Africa still sums up to the use of soft power. However, it is not as pronounced as other Western countries who exercise power openly. Beyond soft power, however, Germany faces the following concern:


  • Illegal migration – over 45,000 migrants from Africa arrive in Germany every year and the number is increasing. German policymakers fret that the numbers will increase. Also, most of them are low-skilled. They are also top of the list from receiving legal migrants from Africa.
  • Human Trafficking – Traffickers also exploit the desperation of people to leave Africa for Europe.
  • Age Distribution by population – see the table below. Germany’s population is old. Its younger population is small. This will remain so for years. It is Africa’s young population that leaves for Germany. It is therefore likely that the population of Africans will close in with Germany’s young population within the next 2 decades.

These concerns may be responsible for Germany’s interest in solving Africa’s problem. Addressing the issues that caused an increase in the number of young Africans leaving Africa is thus a priority. Therefore, Germany contributes to:


  • Enhancing good governance and democratisation
  • Expanding economic opportunities for Africans
  • Facilitating peace and security initiatives to reduce conflicts and ensure peacebuilding in Africa
  • Facilitating sustainable development in different sectors within Africa






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