African states and societies are undergoing profound transformations. In an increasing number of countries, ever-younger populations demand political change. External actors such as China or Russia intensify their engagement on the continent. The number and scale of armed conflicts are on the rise, particularly in the northern half of Africa.
Global megatrends are driving or influencing such processes of transformation on the African continent. Megatrends are long-term structural changes that largely escape political control. They have profound effects on social, economic, and political orders. Examples include climate change, digitalisation, urbanisation, and shifts in global power relations.
In the project “Megatrends Africa: Implications and Options for German and International Policy”, we, the project team, explore how megatrends affect African states and societies. We seek to develop ideas for German and European cooperation with African partners that help to make ongoing transformations fairer and more sustainable. This is all the more important as Africa is rising on the agenda of German and European policymakers, as does their need for evidence-based policy advice.
In the initial phase of the project in 2022, we focus on three thematic areas:
Megatrends Africa is a joint project of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the German Institute for Development and Sustainability (IDOS), and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). Our project cooperates with the Kiel Institute Africa Initiative.
The project’s researchers adhere to the generally accepted principles for ensuring good scientific practice. All project publications are subject to an internal written internal peer review process. In case of our blog series MTA spotlight, the reviewing procedure is conducted through the project director affiliated with the author's organisation. Furthermore the Policy Briefs are subjected to a fact-checking process.
We produce policy-relevant research on major political, social, and economic trends in Africa. The team brings together scholars from both continents and different disciplines. Our aim is to exchange, take on, and critically question different perspectives. We do so at workshops with representatives from academia, politics, and civil society, through our publications, as well as here on the blog of our website. This way, we wish to contribute to a more nuanced public debate on Africa.
As an interdepartmentally financed research and advisory project, we receive funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Federal Ministry of Defence.
Wie die Stärkung der politischen Stimme von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen einen Beziehungswandel zwischen Bevölkerung und Staat unterstützen kann
Niger ist zunehmend zum Schauplatz djihadistischer Gewalthandlungen geworden. Lokale Ableger von al-Qaida und dem Islamischen Staat (IS) haben besonders in der Region Tillabéri an Einfluss gewonnen. Durch Schutzversprechen in lokalen Konfliktlagen und der Schaffung einer Gelegenheit zur sozialen Revolte konnten beide Gruppen lokale Mitglieder mobilisieren und sich als legitime Ordnungsmacht etablieren.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, policy-makers have increasingly viewed Western interests as being challenged by rival actors, including in Africa. This obscures Africa’s growing autonomy in the international order. Redefining European relations with Africa through the prism of strategic competition disproportionately focuses on challenges rather than opportunities.
China is reorganising the spatial order in the East African Community through influencing key stakeholders. By heavily investing in regional connectivity projects via the BRI, Beijing promotes an alternative idea of development – one that is favourable to a Chinese-centric order in the region.
African cities need to raise USD 20-25 billion investment in basic infrastructure and USD 20 billion for housing to accommodate urban growth. This brief explores how improving creditworthiness, strengthening subnational financial intermediaries and pipelines of transformative investments may support this.
The working paper finds that urbanisation does not automatically lead to democratisation, but structures the way citizens relate to the state. While urban density facilitates collective accountability demands, the link between urbanisation and individual accountability relationships with the state is less straightforward. The reviewed evidence suggests that the force to reckon with is not the middle class, but rather the poor masses. It is not enough for governments to cater to the elites anymore, as the share of the urban poor becomes too large to ignore.