Africa department

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Africa Department



Hiroshima Street 17
10785 Berlin

Africa Unit


We are looking forward to your exchange with us.

Here you can find our contact persons by region and topic.

The FES Africa Department

For more than 40 years, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has represented the values of social democracy in Africa. It advocates for social justice, democracy, peace and international solidarity on the continent. In long-standing partnership relations with political parties, parliaments, trade unions, media, civil society groups and interested publics, she promotes political exchange between Africa, Germany and Europe.

We work with our partners to enable and strengthen social and democratic political participation in communities. Together with young people, we develop perspectives for the future. The Friedich-Ebert-Stiftung contributes to the dialogue on peace and security, migration and economic transformation processes. To strengthen the representation of workers’ interests, we rely on political education and international networking.

Global challenges such as climate change, illegal financial flows or migration can only be met together with the countries of Africa. We therefore advocate treating the states of Africa as global partners.

News from the Africa Department

Socio-political changes, background information and insights into FES work on the ground – Read news from the Africa unit here.

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EU-Africa relations

The most important external partner of the African Union since its foundation in 2002 is the European Union (EU). In 2007, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) was signed, and the European-African partnership dialogue has been guided by it ever since. more

Peace and Security

Violent conflict is a key political and social challenge across Africa. In addition to different conflict constellations, they have in common that bad governance and its side effects, from corruption to a lack of socio-economic participation, are the central cause of insecurity. more

Democracy and media promotion

Some 25 years after the start of a wave of democratic reforms triggered by the global political changes of the late 1980s, there are now few states in Africa that are not multiparty systems and hold regular elections. continue

Trade unions

Trade union organization in Africa is weak at the national, regional and continental levels and mainly limited to the formal sector, representing the interests of only a minority of the working population. more

Economic policy

For sustainable development, economic growth must be accompanied by a reduction in high levels of unemployment. Continue

Flight and migration

Migration and refugee movements have always been part of everyday life on the African continent and have represented a major challenge for many years. Africa is the continent most affected by migration and displacement. continue

Reforming trade union structures in sub-Saharan Africa

Since 2016, the topic of future viability and structural change of trade unions has been the focus of a three-year project. The goal is to work with unions from Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Zimbabwe and Botswana to identify internal structural deficits and hurdles to regaining trade union impact and organizational power. The focus is on the necessary (re)orientation of trade union management levels and strategies to the members and companies, in particular the participation and involvement of members in trade union positions, demands and their implementation. How to strengthen the capacity of leadership and members to this end, as well as create productive links between workplaces, unions and their umbrella organizations?

Industrial Policy and Political Economy

Questioning the sustainability of current growth on the continent has led to more interest from African countries in industrial policy strategies. About 80 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa have jobs with low productivity and/or low income, either in smallholder agriculture or in the informal economy. A good third of growth is based on raw materials. Everyone agrees that structural change toward more productive sectors of the economy is needed. "But translating the now widely accepted theoretical principles of industrial policy into a practical framework for concrete government action is indeed a daunting task anywhere, and perhaps even more so in the African context, where institutional foundations of effective government are often not as strong as one would wish" (Stiglitz et al 2013). Why is there so little industrial development in Africa? This line of work examines why African experiences with industrialization have been so disappointing, what country-specific factors affect industrial development in general, and how the interaction of politics and business affects industrial policy objectives and instruments in particular.

Just City

Africa’s urban population will double in the next 25 years. By 2040 at the latest, the majority of all Africans will live in cities. Policymakers will therefore increasingly be judged by the extent to which they succeed in providing public goods for all – regardless of social and economic background or gender. To date, however, people are moving to "unjust" cities, often built in colonial times and where historical inequalities have been further reinforced due to neoliberal urban policies.

The majority of African urban dwellers live in informal settlements, work in precarious conditions, mostly in the informal sector, without employment contract, without social security and often without perspective. In addition, 70 percent of global CO2 emissions are generated in cities. Urbanization is therefore a catalyst of existing social and economic inequalities, as well as the climate crisis. Much of the urban infrastructure needed by mid-century has not yet been built. Who can benefit from this infrastructure or. One of the most important socio-political debates in Africa in the 21st century is the question of how people can benefit from urban public goods. Century. With technical solutions alone, which are of interest to national decision-makers and bilateral and multilateral organizations, we can’t achieve this. multilateral actors have priority, the increasing urban inequality on the African continent will not be reduced. For a just and redistributive urban policy, urban sociopolitical power relations must change. These are contested.

For the "unjust" city to become the "just" city, democratization of decisions about housing, transportation, more equitable distribution of land, health care, etc. is needed. from the municipal to the national level. In addition, international support is needed for this. The goal is to enable and shape a "people-centered urban transformation" towards a Just City. The FES initiates and promotes discussions on starting points and concrete political strategies on the way to the Just City in Africa within the framework of this project.

New approaches to collective security

Peace and security in Africa continue to be threatened by u.a. the dispute over resources, ethnic tensions, cross-border violence, organized crime, terrorism, the proliferation of small arms, and the rise of non-state actors as parties to conflicts. In addition, there is often the weakness of democratic institutions, the lack of security strategies, or the lack of a political system. inadequate implementation of existing strategies, lack of financial resources, or even conflicting interests of various regional powers. Migration to and from the African continent is another factor. Many conflicts have been going on for a very long time, and others flare up again after deceptive periods of calm. Thus, while the causes of insecurity have changed significantly, the structures and approaches of collective security policy concepts such as the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) have remained the same.

Against this background, the FES has launched the continent-wide project "New Approaches to Collective Security" to contribute to the debate on precisely those approaches and security policy structures with a view to the causes of conflict. How to augment or modify existing approaches to collective security, such as APSA, to make them more efficient and sustainable? The project involves the FES offices of Peace and Security, Cooperation with the African Union, and the country offices of Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon/Central Africa, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and South Sudan.

The African Media Barometer

For many years, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has had the African Media Barometer (AMB), a recognized tool for analyzing and evaluating the media landscapes of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The African Media Barometer also serves as a practical lobbying tool by highlighting necessary reforms in the media sector.

How the African Media Barometer works?

The African Media Barometer (AMB) includes a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the national media landscapes of sub-Saharan African countries. In contrast to other media indices, the AMB is based on a self-assessment of national media landscapes by local experts using indicators derived from African protocols and declarations, in particular the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (2002) of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The analysis and evaluation of the national media landscapes is carried out by a national panel consisting of 10-12 people, half of whom come from the media sector (media professionals, media researchers and owners) and half from other areas of civil society (human rights organizations, trade unions, churches, etc.).a.) come. The evaluation is based on 39 indicators, which are divided into four areas:

(1) Freedom of expression and media
(2) Media diversity and media independence
(3) Broadcasting regulation and public broadcasters
(4) Media practice and qualitative standards

The results of the AMB are published in the form of a country report. The AMB has already been carried out in 31 countries. For more information and a current list of AMB country reports, please visit the FES Media Project website.

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