Holding a dialogue with a wagging finger

by Rose Marie Beck

Nonstop (Issue III/2019)

What is new in the new set of Africa guidelines?

The role of the African Union and its growing importance is becoming clearer both within and beyond Africa. Also the issue of the restitution of cultural items is a new topic. In terms of the rhetoric used, you can tell that the government is trying to take into account African states’ perspectives. That is a good thing.

How effective is European and African cooperation?

Instead of getting Africa on board and asking them how we can strengthen the rule-based world order, Germany, as the representative of the European Union, presents itself, with a wagging finger, as a protector of a world order, which was yet to be developed in Africa. It is true that Africa could be more democratic. But that also applies to Poland, Hungary, Italy, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union.

Should civil society in Africa be strengthened?

The civil society is very important for western democracies. In relation to Africa, it is often criticized as a post-colonial hegemonic modernizing tool. In this respect, you do ask yourself why the German government continues to happily include such traditional models in their papers.

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