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Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
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“Always consult African Feminists, academics, grassroots movements. There are many across the continent.”

Wed, 06/12/2023 - 11:41

 

Megatrends Afrika (MTA): You have written and researched extensively on Black Feminism. What trends do you see in the current feminist discourse? How are the conversations in Europe and on the African continent similar or different?

Minna Salami (MS): From my vantage point, feminism is not really a movement that has trends. It is a social movement that responds to the zeitgeist. What may seem like a trend is a response to socio-political developments and all of the conversations that are going on in society at large.

What we see today is that feminists around the globe are debating the same crises: Feminists are talking a lot about climate change, as we always have. The environment has always been a big issue for women’s movements, as well as authoritarianism and the erosion of democracy, because they go hand in hand with patriarchy. There is no authoritarian regime that is not patriarchal and, in a sense, all patriarchal systems are authoritarian towards women. War and conflict affect women particularly in dire ways. And then, of course, there are still the perennial issues that we never seem to be able to escape: the asymmetrical distribution of power, sexual objectification, the disempowerment of girls in relation to boys.

This polycrisis affects women differently across the world. If you look at the wars in Africa – in Sudan, for example – the flags are not raised as urgently as in other wars. African women accordingly are treated differently in these situations. There should never be any kind of hierarchy when it comes to war, but that is one of the challenges that African Feminists are facing.

It is similar with climate change: Africa contributes only 2 to 3 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, and yet it is the continent that faces the most severe consequences. African women bear the brunt of that weight. They do the majority of agricultural work on the continent. That already gives you an idea of the gendered impact of environmental degradation.

MTA: Does this open up space for cross-regional feminist discussions on a more level playing field? Is it an opportunity to find a common language?

MS: I certainly think it requires that kind of thinking. This is a time when we need feminism, and we need international feminism to intervene. It does not mean that we have to be some kind of united front. We do not! This discussion is why the movement is at a standstill. Feminists have made monumental achievements. But we could achieve even more if we did not feel this kind of obligation to have the exact same politics. I think that is really part of a backlash narrative against feminism; it is the first thing we always hear: “Oh, you cannot even get along.” And the fact is, we do not have to. We do not need to have the same feminist politics on every issue. But we do need to be aware of – and critically engage with – each other’s work, I think.

MTA: At the same time, of course, there are always blind spots. What areas do not receive the attention they deserve, especially in the European political debate?

MS:The big thing is Eurocentrism: It always has been, and it still is. And it is difficult to overcome. I am proudly European as well as African, and I cannot understand why it is so difficult for Europeans, and also European feminists, to get rid of Eurocentricity. We know how toxic it is.

For decades, non-Western feminism has shown that we cannot end patriarchy anywhere as long as we are reinforcing it with Eurocentric feminist work at the same time. I think we need to start being more matter-of-fact about Eurocentricism. It is not about blame. It is not about guilt. All these emotions exist within the movement. But I think we need to move away from it because it is the tool that patriarchal systems use to manipulate feminist work.

More specifically, I have noticed, for example, that when I am introduced as a Black Feminist, Europeans – and even European feminists – find it difficult to understand that Black Feminism is a school of thought. People limit this to my identity, down to certain individuals or to humanitarian development projects. And this blind spot is really troubling. Black Feminism is a school of thought in the same way that Psychoanalytic Feminism or Post-structural Feminism are, and that is the way that we need to engage with it.

MTA: Eurocentrism also comes up increasingly in the debates around decolonising Africa policies and integrating intersectional approaches.

MS: Yes, it is fantastic that we have politicians in the West talking about decolonisation and intersectionality. Five years ago, let alone decades ago, that would have been unheard of. So, I want to acknowledge that this is an important first step. Yet, it needs to be said that it is damaging when influential people talk about intersectionality but do not put it into practice, and do not even try to.

One thing that I see happening with intersectionality is people saying that they are doing intersectional feminism or intersectional politics or whatever, and then they just go on and talk only about gender, for example. I see this a lot in the West. They bring in all the feminist arguments but do not talk about race. Conversely, in Africa, there are a lot of people touting intersectionality, but then they talk only about race. Yet, the very premise of intersectionality is, of course, the intersection of race and gender and other forms of identity and oppression.

The same with decolonisation. Today, all kinds of institutions and organisations are decolonising all kinds of things. Decolonise your computer or your museum, your body, your nail polish. Great! But again, they are not necessarily putting the question of Eurocentrism on the agenda. And if you do not do that, then it is not a decolonial approach. Such a reductive approach to decolonisation, which describes a centuries-long movement for emancipation and a rigorous field of knowledge, makes the concept even more decontextualised.

Decolonisation in the 21st century is still a political project, but it is also a mental and a psychosocial project. Overcoming Eurocentrism is the decolonisation of our time. So, raise this issue whenever a project claims to be about decolonisation.

MTA: As you said, we have a much more prominent discussion about feminism these days. At the same time, the anti-feminist movement is growing here and on the African continent. How can we counter these narratives?

MS: It is a complex question. I think it is really important to see all of feminism as this huge compendium of knowledge about how to break free from patriarchy. And if that is the case, then we have a lot of language to counter anti-feminism. Feminism is the language itself.

I would say it is very much about critical argument, analysis and imagination. Those three qualities are present in all the great feminist works and achievements. Analysis, so that we understand the predicament of what we are trying to oppose, and then a formulation of critical arguments against it, but at the same time an overarching vision, a kind of creative imagining of a better future.

How can we make an argument that is both critical and creative? You could go for the most radical critical argument, or sometimes the most radical approach is to be strategic and pragmatic. Right? But you must still make the critical argument, you still do the analysis and you still do the creative, imaginative work. And that is how we are going to counter all forms of authoritarianism, anti-gender, anti-feminism.

It does not always appeal to people because it is long-term work. It takes a certain amount of stepping back, observing and then proposing something new. But that has always been a key component of feminism. And it is necessary for fighting against these negative forces in society today.

MTA: We already touched upon the notion of the polycrisis earlier. Could you give us some insights into your research on it?

MS: People use various terms for it: Nested crises, perma-crisis, multi-crisis. But there is certainly something about the zeitgeist today that is unique because of the vast number of crises, of huge catastrophes, happening at the same time and exacerbating each other.

What the polycrisis essentially means is that there is an enormous and unprecedented amount of suffering in the world. To me, the polycrisis is a painful, ugly situation that we should never have found ourselves in. It implies suffering, death, all of the worst things that humanity has done to itself and to its ecosystems.

Now, when you hear people talking about the polycrisis, I do not hear that sentiment. I am hearing urgent diagnostics. I see a lot of data. I do not hear the horror, the dystopia that this term – if it is going to be used that way – is telling us. And honestly, it drives me mad. It makes me desperate.

Also, I think we are not talking enough about peace, not just peace from war and conflict, but just this notion of peace-building that, at its core, also implies making space for silence and ease. Remember that the pursuit of peace is the seed that bolstered the early Feminist movement with women’s peace congresses and issues alike in the early 19th and 20th centuries. That seed can and should never be completely eradicated. It is there. But we are neglecting it.

So, how do we create peace in a world that is in polycrisis? Black Feminism offers a lot of different ideas, but I think the most famous is intersectionality. The theory offers useful ways of countering the polycrisis. The original theory centred on Black women being crushed by different systems – patriarchy, sexism, racism. With the polycrisis, you could say it is like if you replace the Black woman in the centre of this traffic jam with the planet. It is being crushed by these systems of consumerism, capitalism, patriarchy, authoritarianism, global warming and biodiversity loss.

The moment you look at the polycrisis from the Black Feminist lens, you cannot help but see that we are talking about suffering, we are talking about oppression and recklessness. We are talking about pain, exclusion, lack of care. You can see that this is not just about economic crises or political crises. It is also about a crisis of affect, a crisis of relationship.

MTA: From a feminist perspective, should we be focussing less on data and the technocratic side of issues and more on their impact at the individual and societal levels?

MS: Feminism always brings complexity. And that is not what we see in patriarchal crisis strategy. It is almost laughably immature because it is so banal. It is so devoid of complexity. It treats the world in a dualistic way, that is binary, very black or white – as if that has ever worked in history. Feminism is the voice that says: “Hey, these are complex questions. You cannot deal with A if A and B are connected and you ignore B, and C, D, E and F, for that matter.”

An example? A simple one might be the way that we usually see a spike in domestic violence when men are unable to find work, and that much of this job loss is caused by extractive systems that put many men out of work while also destroying the planet, which further exacerbates violence. So, that is always the kind of complexity that we need to bring to these issues.

MTA: How can we better integrate feminist perspectives into policy processes and the decision-making processes around them? We have seen a lot of stakeholder consultations and other instruments, for example. What would be your ideas on how to integrate feminist voices from academia, grassroots movements and civil society in this space?

MS: It is important to create spaces for feminist voices. When it comes to Africa, there is a curious thing going on. The gender and development sector is huge on the continent and does important work. But at the same time, it is not the same as “African Feminism”. In fact, it is in some ways a kind of backlash against the African Feminist movement.

What I mean is that it can be convenient for policy-makers to focus on that sector because they can avoid working with feminists while claiming to be feminist. But if you want to implement a Feminist Foreign Policy that claims to be truly feminist or intersectional, then work with the local feminists. Do not just go and work with some (international) NGO that might actually be pretty stridently anti-feminist but is helping women in some way in a certain project. Always consult African Feminists, academics, locally led organisations, intellectuals and grassroots movements. There are many across the African continent.

MTA: Just to clarify, in the area of gender and development: Do you think there are some initiatives that everybody can get behind while other important initiatives are still being neglected? For example, it is easier to support primary education for girls than the big issue of sexual and reproductive health.

MS: I mean all of that, actually. Pretty much everything you just mentioned is part of focussing on gender over feminism. This language has taken over the African continent, and it is strongly influenced by European and Western politics. In some ways, this is a backlash against the Feminist movement. And I know this is a very controversial statement. I do not know if all African Feminists would even agree with me. And I would be cold-blooded if I said that organisations that are working on issues like girls’ education or maternal health care are not doing good work. But they are often also importing Eurocentrism into Africa. Instead of pushing feminist ideas, they are often also importing and validating a prevalent patriarchal mindset.

African Feminists are then left to rebuild years of work. All I am saying is that if you are claiming to do feminist work in Africa, then you have to talk to African Feminists. It is really very obvious.

MTA: What does this mean in practice? Because I suspect the response to this criticism would be: “Oh, we are already doing that. Obviously, we are already in touch with African Feminists.”

MS: First of all, do they call themselves feminists? And even then, secondly, have you had a dialogue with them about feminism? Is there a tradition of feminism in that organisation? If you claim that you are working on a feminist project, then you should not be in a position where you have to question these things. And if you do not take these steps, then that is Eurocentric. If we were working on a feminist project in Europe, policy-makers would not just contact any humanitarian actor, they would approach a Feminist organisation. It is not enough to assume that doing charitable work equals a feminist approach. That is not necessarily the case. So why assume that it is the case in Africa?

But the problem is also that decision-makers have to first question the patriarchal structure of their own organisations. That is my third recommendation. If you do not interrogate the problem of sexism and patriarchy and racism within your own institution, then do not work with African organisations on the issue of feminism because you are just going to make the situation worse. Again, that is Eurocentrism, and potentially it is a saviour mentality. You cannot go and “help” people with a problem that you are not fighting to overcome yourself.

Megatrends Afrika's Anna Hörter conducted this interview with feminist author, journalist and critic Minna Salami in October 2023. Ms Salami, also known as MsAfropolitan to her followers on social media, is currently Program Chair at The New Institute.

Responsibility for the content, opinions expressed and sources used in the articles and interviews lies with the respective authors.

Deutschland und Südkorea auf dem Weg zur strategischen Partnerschaft

Tue, 05/12/2023 - 11:19

Deutschland und Südkorea verbinden nicht nur ähnliche historische Erfahrungen und enge wirtschaftliche Beziehungen, sondern auch gemeinsame Werte und Inter­essen. Lange waren die bilateralen Beziehungen von einem Austausch über tradi­tio­nelle Kooperationsthemen geprägt, etwa den Teilungs- und Wiedervereinigungserfahrungen sowie vor allem den wirtschaftlichen Verbindungen. Jüngst weiten sie sich auch auf den sicherheitspolitischen und strategischen Bereich aus. Um das Potential aus­zuschöpfen, bestehende Herausforderungen zu bewältigen und die bilateralen Beziehungen zukunftsfähig auszugestalten, sollten Berlin und Seoul diese weiter inten­sivieren und zu einer strategischen Partnerschaft aufwerten.

Why People Stay

Tue, 05/12/2023 - 01:00

The proportion of affected populations who flee violent conflict is much smaller than is widely assumed. Many decide to remain in the conflict zones. They are often referred to as stayees. Three groups can be identified. Some people stay voluntarily. Others do so involuntarily, for example because they lack the resources to flee or because violent actors restrict their freedom of movement. Another group acquiesce to their immobility. Little is known about stayees, their needs and the reasons for their im­mobility. But several factors relevant to their decision-making can be identified. These include type of conflict, type of violence and personal situation. Whether they remain voluntarily or involuntarily, stayees employ sur­vival strategies including collaboration, neutrality, protest and resistance. Knowledge about stayees and their survival strategies is important for humanitarian aid and development actors. Only if they are well informed can they align their activities with actual needs and provide meaningful support to people living in and with violent conflicts. It is therefore essential to consider the entire spectrum of (im)mobility and to understand this expanded perspective as a positive – without neglecting the forcibly displaced. The agency of civilians in violent conflicts needs to be recognised and they must be protected from abuse and exploitation by aid workers (do-no-harm principle). Finally, stayees must be systematically included in all post-conflict initiatives supporting vol­untary return and reintegration.

The EU Global Gateway and North Africa: Practical and Moral Challenges

Mon, 04/12/2023 - 13:07

 

Development policy in times of increasing autocratisation is a major discussion for European and German cooperation with Africa. In practical terms, Europe has given up on using its development aid and other economic instruments to incentivise democratisation in non-European countries. This change has become inevitable, as non-EU countries have rejected the notion of Europe driving particular forms of state-society relations, especially in former colonies. At the same time, European security and migration management interests, which are often at odds with democracy promotion, have been prioritised over programmes that support risky transformation processes.

This change in emphasis has been particularly notable in the EU’s cooperation with North African countries, where increased financial and rhetorical support for political change in the years following the 2011 Arab Uprisings has given way to pragmatic support for social, political and economic stability, especially since Tunisia’s democratic experiment was suspended in 2021. 

The change in emphasis has also been accompanied by a new policy framework. The Global Gateway infrastructure investment programme is becoming the new paradigm for European cooperation with the ‘Global South’. The Global Gateway cooperation model re-conceptualises development aid as a catalyst for investment, prioritises development projects that serve ‘mutual interests’, places principal focus on the ‘hardware’ of physical infrastructure and de-emphasises ‘software’ aspects such as governance, inclusion and rights.

Practical and moral considerations

The fact that investment partnerships are being formed with state actors in authoritarian countries raises important practical and moral questions. On a practical level, issues arise around transparency and efficacy. On a moral level, there are unanswered questions about the kinds of values that Europe wants to promote with its development cooperation and especially the issue of who should benefit: societies, or established autocratic elites. 

The EU has touched on these practical and moral questions in its communications around the Global Gateway. In her contribution to this blog series, Commissioner Urpilainen noted that ‘Global Gateway takes centre stage in strengthening the Africa-EU Partnership, with valuable support from various partners, including Germany. This partnership embodies the ideals of a more interconnected, collaborative world and shared values.’ The European Commission lists six ‘core values’ on its website, the first two of which are ‘democratic values and high standards’ and ‘good governance and transparency’. The Commission does not offer much detail about how these principles should influence investment projects in authoritarian partner countries.

As the Global Gateway gathers momentum, the practical and moral questions are becoming more relevant for Germany as well. Germany is a key financer and influential broker of EU-level decision-making. Germany is a key ‘Team Europe’ partner in several Global Gateway projects, both running and planned. In this context, the German government would be well advised to elaborate strategies to deal with inevitable trade-offs and to make effective use of its influence at the EU level.

The Global Gateway in North Africa: Democratic Oversight, Environmental Sustainability & Geopolitics

As Werenfels and Lacher discussed in this blog series, the EU has different interests in North Africa than in Sub-Saharan Africa. These are shaped by proximity and shared concerns about rapid global warming, energy security and demographic change. Moreover, as most North African countries already have closer economic relations with Europe than their sub-Saharan neighbours, cooperation across the Mediterranean under the Global Gateway is likely to be deeper, the Gateway’s whole-of-Africa ambition notwithstanding.

The EU – and therefore Germany – faces significant challenges in implementing the Global Gateway in North Africa. These range from the economy to social and environmental sustainability issues and geopolitical considerations, which raise practical and moral dilemmas for cooperation.

The first major challenges that arise stem from the inherent risks of doing deals in countries where not only the business environment and the investment climate lack transparency and accountability, but where political stability may be a mirage. The social and economic pressures that drove the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010 and 2011 have not been addressed, and in some countries have even worsened. Anti-government protests from late 2016 in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria were only suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, regime repression and electronic surveillance. Commissioner Urpilainen’s assurances about‘democratic values and high standards’ and ‘good governance and transparency’ are welcome, but clear definitions are missing and related monitoring and control mechanisms still need to be developed.

A second set of challenges arises around authoritarianism and environmental sustainability – a central objective of both Global Gateway and the European Green Deal. Trade-offs between sustainability and authoritarianism arise when trying to reconcile environmental standards (for instance for biodiversity or natural resources protection) with local needs of populations. In authoritarian settings, environmental policies tend to reproduce governance patterns, but if centralized top-down approaches do not consider local concerns, solutions may not be sustainable in the long term and produce negative side effects. The exclusion of relevant stakeholders and disregard for negative environmental impacts in Tunisia’s green hydrogen strategy is a case in point.

Furthermore, the Global Gateway’s investment guarantees are likely to support authoritarianism in North Africa, where governance systems are based on the rent-seeking behaviour of elites. The new rents may reinforce these patterns as well-connected businessmen grab market opportunities in green technologies. This raises serious questions about the equity of the so-called ‘just transition’ and thereby the legitimacy of Europe’s agenda.

A third set of challenges arises from the Global Gateway’s geopolitical ambitions. North Africa has witnessed several shifts in economic influence since independence, where prevailing economic ties with former colonial powers are increasingly replaced by extended cooperation with former Cold War allies (such as Algeria and Russia), regional partners such as Turkey and the Gulf States, and of course China. The Global Gateway is both an imitation of and a competitive response to China’s belt-and-road initiative. China has considerably expanded its presence in North Africa through infrastructure investments and the control of cyberspace, and will not be dislodged easily. The same goes for major Gulf investments such as the Saudi Green Initiative.

Build Credibility Along with Connectivity

The Global Gateway attempts to sidestep the reality of cooperation with authoritarian governments by focusing on infrastructure and mutual interests. Most European policymakers would still want to realise the ‘ring of friends’ vision of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and an open and democratic North Africa would be a major part of this. However, after several decades of half-hearted democracy promotion efforts, European leaders are well aware that they do not have the power to force transformation, nor the will and moral backbone to support regional forces of change when established elites resist.

While the rise of anti-democratic populism in European politics is not going unnoticed in North Africa, the universality of democratic values was evident in the Arab uprisings, and more recently in the pre-Covid protests in Algeria especially. The likelihood that these values will again surface in a region where social, economic and environmental tensions remain unresolved is high, and Germany and the EU would be wise to be prepared for this.

In theory, the Global Gateway may have significant potential, both for treading the path of least resistance and for providing momentum for positive change in North Africa. The EU has used cooperation on critical infrastructure to foster European integration and enable the free movement of goods, capital, expertise and people. This process was not without practical and moral dilemmas, and they were not easy to resolve even within Europe. In most cases, however, European dilemmas were not simply ignored in the hope that they would go away.

For Germany and the EU, openly articulating and addressing the challenges mentioned above would be a major contribution not only towards more effective implementation of the global gateway but to Europe’s credibility as a legitimate and reliable partner in turbulent times. With the necessary honesty regarding practical and moral challenges, the Global Gateway could provide opportunities for addressing double standards, historic responsibilities and broken promises. Germany, as a major player within the EU, could seize the opportunity to shape the initiative in this direction.

Both authors, Dr Annabelle Houdret and Dr Mark Furness, are Senior Researchers at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), where they are part of the research and advisory project team ‘Stability and Development in the Middle East and North Africa’.

Responsibility for the content, opinions expressed and sources used in the articles and interviews lies with the respective authors.

Displacement and Migration in the International Climate Negotiations

Mon, 04/12/2023 - 10:00

Climate change is leading to increasing displacement and migration, as well as invol­untary immobility. The associated challenges and costs have long been neglected in the international climate negotiations. Until now, efforts to open up mobility choices for people negatively affected by climate change have been chronically underfunded. One important starting point for changing this is the explicit reference to human mobility in the new Loss and Damage Fund. However, financial resources and tech­nical support alone are not enough. In order to meet the epochal challenge of climate change-induced human mobility ambitious migration policy solutions are needed, including planned relocation and the consideration of climate change impacts in the management of labour migration.

Prioritizing Africa’s Needs: How to Strengthen Africa-German Cooperation on Migration

Fri, 01/12/2023 - 11:36

 

There is growing interest from the German government to strengthen its relations with African partners. As the government revises its Africa policy, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, visited Ghana & Nigeria in November 2023 to discuss cooperation opportunities in the areas of energy, digitalization and agriculture. One very important area of Africa-German relations is migration. Official statistics dating to December 2022 show that about 611,000 foreign-born Africans currently reside in Germany. Looking at Africa-EU relations on migration historically, curbing irregular migration is high on the agenda. This is evident through funded projects on strengthening border controls and on return and reintegration. However, from the African side, especially among West African countries, research shows that curbing outflows of people and return and reintegration are not political priorities. These are sensitive topics for national governments because it is politically unfavourable among their citizens.

Aligning interests on migration and development

High on the agenda for African states is the development side of migration. In particular, countries like Senegal show great interest in diaspora engagement. African countries are interested in harnessing development opportunities that come with migration through remittances and diaspora investment in the countries of origin. Studies show that remittances contribute positively to economic growth in the African context when the financial environment is healthy (Olayungbo and Quadri, 2019; Nyamongo et al., 2012).

The new Africa-German policy needs to take this into account. It could be particularly relevant in the context of Germany’s interest in increasing labour migration of skilled workers. This is due to a shortage of skilled workers in parts of Germany, e.g. in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics). However, there are barriers associated with attracting these workers to Germany, especially from African countries.  Long visa processing times and bureaucratic hurdles are barriers that may deter potential workers from Germany as a labour migration destination. In Nigeria for example, current processing times for long-term visas can take up to a year.

Cooperation on Climate change and human mobility

A second area to be accounted for in a new Africa policy is a strong emphasis on climate change and human mobility. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report clearly highlights that the adverse impacts of climate change increasingly influence human mobility in Africa. Impacts on food security, livelihoods, well-being or habitation drive people to leave their homes or to be trapped in high-risk areas for those who lack the resources to move. Climate change also contributes to conflict situations and displacement in places like the Lake Chad region and the Horn of Africa where we see competition for scarce resources increase.

This area is a shared priority and needs to be addresses in the new Africa Policy Guidelines. The German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’s 2030 strategy highlights climate and energy as one of five core areas of collaboration with partners. Furthermore, the BMZ has identified migration – understood as an adaptation strategy - as possible area of cooperation e.g. through financed projects that support labor migration to fill labor gaps in Germany, while also providing development benefits to countries of origin.

In the African context, the climate-human mobility nexus is a key issue that is reflected in several national migration and climate policies, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), climate communications and even regional initiatives. For example, Ghana’s National Migration Policy strongly emphasizes the impact of climate change on human mobility in the country. In 2022, Ministers of Environment, Interior and Foreign Affairs of countries in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC), and States of the East and Horn of Africa also launched the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change. These types of initiatives enable stakeholders to identify priorities and foster cooperation on the nexus of climate change and human mobility.

Funds for climate adaptation and loss and damage in the context of human mobility

In the area of migration, new Africa Policy Guidelines must reflect climate-induced human mobility as key areas of cooperation. The agreement to establish a loss and damage funding arrangement at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, is an opportunity for Germany to contribute towards supporting affected communities in Africa dealing with displacement. Germany can also support efforts to build resilience of communities against climate risks to mitigate displacement. In this, adaptation is paramount and should be scaled up. Furthermore, migration and/or climate policies need to reflect these issues that did not get the proper attention so far. For example, in West African cities like Accra and Dakar, urban climate plans do not sufficiently address the climate and human mobility nexus even though these cities are top destinations for migrants internally and from outside the respective countries.

In conclusion, it is important for Germany’s Africa policy to strengthen two key areas: the migration and development nexus and the climate-human mobility nexus. On one hand, the policy should reflect the integration of climate change concerns within cooperation efforts on migration, accounting for human mobility within countries, regional movements and international migration to Germany. On the other hand, in terms of international migration, there is an opportunity for cooperation on skilled labour migration from Africa. This will potentially yield co-benefits to Germany and Africa by filling labour gaps in Germany but also increasing remittances for African states to contribute to development and resilience building in countries of origin.

Responsibility for the content, opinions expressed and sources used in the articles and interviews lies with the respective authors.

Susan S. Ekoh is a researcher with the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) in Bonn, Germany. Her research covers the topics of climate (im)mobility in African cities, climate adaptation and resilience in Africa.

Rethinking Civil-Military Relations in Turkey

Fri, 01/12/2023 - 01:00

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in June after being sworn in for the third time as the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised the nation that his policies in the coming five years would “crown the second century of the republic with the Century of Türkiye”. Turkey has undergone a massive transformation in the last two decades since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power in 2002. Undoubtedly, the reconfiguration of civil-military relations has been one of the most critical markers of such change. The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has, under AKP rule, become an executor of foreign policy in an empowered security ecosystem consisting of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), and the defence industry. These shifts in the security environment as such have been shaped by the dynamics of regime change in Turkey and post-Cold War security imperatives.

Flucht und Migration in den internationalen Klimaverhandlungen

Wed, 29/11/2023 - 13:00

Der Klimawandel führt sowohl zu wachsender Migration, Flucht und Vertreibung als auch zu unfreiwilliger Immobilisierung von Menschen. In den internationalen Klima­verhandlungen wurden die damit einhergehenden Herausforderungen und Kosten lange vernachlässigt. Bisherige Bemühungen, selbstbestimmte Mobilitätsentscheidun­gen auch im Kontext von Klimawandelfolgen zu ermöglichen, sind chronisch unter­finanziert. Einen wichtigen Ansatzpunkt, dies zu ändern, bietet die expli­zi­te Berücksichtigung menschlicher Mobilität im neu einzurichtenden Fonds für Ver­luste und Schäden. Finanzielle Ressourcen und Angebote technischer Unterstützung allein reichen aber nicht aus. Um der Zukunftsaufgabe klimabedingter menschlicher Mobi­lität zu begegnen, bedarf es zuallererst ambitionierter migrations­politischer Lösungen, inklusive geplanter Umsiedlungen und der Beachtung von Klimawandelbetroffenheit in der Steuerung von Arbeitsmigration.

Das Afrikabild in den deutschen Medien: Durch die eigene Brille gesehen

Tue, 28/11/2023 - 12:51

 

Seit einigen Jahren habe ich meine Suchmaschine so eingestellt, dass sie mir jeden Tag anzeigt, was in deutschen Medien über Afrika berichtet wird. Für Länder, die mich besonders interessieren, habe ich zusätzliche Suchaufträge eingerichtet. Die gute Nachricht: Jeden Tag finden sich in lokalen, regionalen und überregionalen Medien mehrere Berichte mit mehr oder weniger Afrikabezug.

Diese Einträge sind zwar keine Grundlage für eine empirische Aussage, aber sie vermitteln einen groben Eindruck davon, was über Afrika geschrieben und gesendet wird. Auf diese Weise erfuhr ich, dass die britische Königin Camilla unlängst in Kenia ein verwaistes Elefantenbaby mit der Flasche fütterte. Ich lese, wenn wieder einmal afrikanische Athlet*innen einen Marathonrekord gebrochen haben. Ich bekomme mit, wenn es in einer deutschen Kleinstadt einen Spendenlauf „für Afrika“ gibt oder ein deutscher Verein ein Hilfsprojekt auf den Weg gebracht und eingeweiht hat. Und es geht nicht an mir vorbei, welche*r Deutsche gerade mit Fahrrad/Motorrad/ Auto quer durch unseren südlichen Nachbarkontinent reist. Natürlich werde ich auch – dann meist in etlichen Medien zugleich – über katastrophale Dürren, Überschwemmungen, Massaker, Konflikte, Hungersnöte informiert. Selbstverständlich gibt es aber auch ausführliche Reportagen oder Hintergrundberichte darüber, unter welchen oft unmenschlichen Umständen die Rohstoffe für unsere Energiewende abgebaut werden. Warum die Menschen in Niger den Militärs zujubeln, die einen gewählten Präsidenten weggeputscht haben. Oder wie es Kenia gelingt, 90 Prozent seiner Energie aus nachhaltigen Quellen zu beziehen.

Licht und Schatten der Berichterstattung

Weil die Palette der Themen, der Ausführlichkeit und der Qualität aller Berichte so breit ist, finde ich Aussagen über „die Medien“ grundsätzlich unbefriedigend. Zum Glück haben wir in Deutschland immer noch eine ziemlich vielfältige Medienlandschaft, obwohl sich diese Vielfalt durch etliche Fusionen in den vergangenen Jahren deutlich (und besorgniserregend) reduziert hat. Auch wenn es sich also nicht so einfach sagen lässt, wie „die Medien“ über Afrika berichten, so gibt es doch Tendenzen, und um die soll es im Folgenden gehen.

Früher war ein häufiger Vorwurf an „die Afrikaberichterstattung“, sie zeichne das Bild eines tribalistischen und dunklen Kontinents, der grundsätzlich „anders“ sei als Europa. Mit diesem Vorwurf beschäftigte sich Johanna Mack 2019 in ihrem Beitrag für das Portal des European Journalism Observatory „Wie westliche Journalisten über Afrika berichten“. Mack forschte am Heinrich-Bost Institut für Internationalen Journalismus und bezog sich vor allem auf eine Untersuchung aus dem Jahr 2018 von Toussaint Nothias, der an der New York University Journalismus und globale Kommunikation lehrt. Macks und Nothias‘ Ergebnis zufolge lasse sich das Vorurteil nicht bestätigen, wonach Afrika durch Hinweise auf Tribalismus und „Dunkelheit“ als grundsätzlich „anders“ dargestellt werde. Berechtigt seien dagegen die Kritikpunkte, dass Berichte Afrika überwiegend wenig differenziert und als homogene Einheit darstellten. Dies komme in Beiträgen über Asien oder Lateinamerika deutlich seltener vor. Interessant ist ein weiteres Ergebnis von Nothias‘ Analyse: Zitate afrikanischer Stimmen würden deutlich seltener mit Verben beschrieben, die sie als rational darstellten, als westliche Gesprächspartner*innen. Während letztere beispielsweise „erklären“ oder „ankündigen“, würden für afrikanische Stimmen oft Verben benutzt wie „behaupten“ oder „sich beschweren“.

Zwei weitere häufige Vorwürfe hätten viele Forscher*innen bestätigt, so Mack: Medien berichteten zu wenig und zu negativ über Afrika. Allerdings gilt zu bedenken, dass Nachrichten grundsätzlich dazu neigen, sich auf negative Ereignisse zu fokussieren. In den vergangenen Jahren zeigt sich ein gewisser Bewusstseinswandel, wie Nothias beschreibt, und ich ihn auch selbst empfinde: Es gibt weiterhin eine große Anzahl von „Doomsday“- Berichten über Afrika, aber auch extrem positive Darstellungen. So ist – häufig im Zusammenhang mit den Besuchen von deutschen Wirtschaftsdelegationen – gerne die Rede vom „Chancenkontinent“, der Investoren viel Potenzial, große Energiereserven und ein Reservoir an möglichen Facharbeitskräften biete. Das Problem: In den einen Berichten fehlt oft das Licht, in den anderen der Schatten. Was geschrieben oder gesendet wird, folgt unserem westlichen Narrativ und schaut ausschließlich durch unsere Brille auf den Kontinent. Es geht beispielsweise darum, wie sich Migrant*innen abwehren oder zurückschicken lassen. Wie sich Fachkräfte anlocken, Energie und Rohstoffe gewinnen lassen. Konsequenterweise kommen in den sogenannten Afrika-Berichten vor allem westliche Stimmen zu Wort: deutsche Militärs, Politiker*innen, Mitarbeitende deutscher Hilfsorganisationen oder politischer Stiftungen.

Bilder und Narrative aus der Ferne ganz nah

Der Medienwissenschaftler Lutz Mükke hat das am Beispiel der Berichterstattung über den Sahel in einer Studie für die Otto-Brenner-Stiftung untersucht, die im April dieses Jahres erschien: „Mediale Routinen und Ignoranz? Die Sahel-Einsätze der Bundeswehr im öffentlichen Diskurs“. Dazu wertete Mükke Beiträge aus, die zwischen Anfang April und Anfang Juli 2021 bei Zeit Online, tagesschau.de, bild.de und FAZ.NET erschienen waren. Sein Fazit ist aufschlussreich für die Tendenz in der gesamten Berichterstattung über den Kontinent. Die Beiträge im Untersuchungszeitraum seien stark nachrichtlich und von Agenturen geprägt. Keiner der Korrespondent*innenberichte sei in einem der Sahelstaaten entstanden, sondern in Büros tausende von Kilometern entfernt, unter anderem in Berlin, Paris und Kapstadt.

Aus der Ferne ist es natürlich leichter, mit Deutschen zu sprechen. In vielen Berichten erscheinen Afrikaner*innen nicht als handelnde Akteure, sie bekommen keine Gelegenheit, ihre Situation als Analyst*innen zu erklären. Stattdessen sind sie Objekte von Naturgewalten, Terrorgruppen und anderen Widernissen. Wenn sie Glück haben, helfen ihnen „weiße Retter“. Ein solches Narrativ wird den Menschen und Realitäten des Kontinents nicht gerecht, es ist aber auch für uns in Europa von Nachteil. Denn das, was wir durch die Mainstream-Berichterstattung erfahren, ermöglicht uns kaum, die Entwicklungen vor Ort zu begreifen. Das hat sich in den vergangenen Monaten immer wieder gezeigt, nicht zuletzt anlässlich von neun Militärputschen seit 2020, darunter zwei Coups in Mali und einer in Niger. Beide Länder galten bis dahin als Säulen der deutschen Sahelpolitik. Aus den Medienberichten konnte die deutsche Öffentlichkeit wenig ziehen, um sich die Umbrüche zu erklären – die immerhin den überstürzten Abzug der Bundeswehr zur Folge hatten und eine Neujustierung der deutschen Sahel-Politik erzwangen.

Warum die Bevölkerung in Bamako, Niamey oder Ouagadougou plötzlich Putschisten bejubelt, russische Fahnen schwenkt und französische verbrennt, warum afrikanische Länder in der UN-Vollversammlung nicht mehr unbedingt mit „dem Westen“ stimmen, bleibt nach der Lektüre der meisten Medienbeiträge unverständlich. Agenturberichte, die tausende von Kilometern entfernt entstehen, helfen wenig dabei, solche Umbrüche zu erklären. Die Krücke, auf russische Troll-Fabriken und die Verblendung afrikanischer Gesellschaften zu verweisen, geht an einem Großteil der Gründe vorbei. Dabei wäre es in der gar nicht mehr so neuen multipolaren Weltordnung wichtiger denn je, dass Europa und Deutschland die Perspektiven anderer Weltregionen begreifen. Also auch die Perspektiven der afrikanischen Akteur*innen. Die Verhältnisse in den Ländern sind so komplex wie bei uns in Europa. Deshalb werden wir uns dauerhaft nicht ausreichend orientieren können, wenn wir nur auf die Frage starren, ob „der Westen“ nun in Afrika und anderswo von Russland ausgebootet wird, ob China europäischen Firmen alle Aufträge wegschnappt und ähnliche Fragen.

Mehr Zuhören, Verstehen, Vermitteln

Wenn wir verstehen wollen – und es wäre gut, wenn wir das täten – warum „der Westen“ heute in so vielen afrikanischen Ländern von vielen Menschen so negativ gesehen wird, dann sollten wir diesen Menschen zuhören. Oder praktikabler gesagt: Korrespondent*innen vor Ort haben, die ihnen zuhören können. Die mit ausreichend Mitteln ausgestattet sind, um ihre Schreibtische verlassen zu können, und ausreichend Sendeminuten oder Zeilen zur Verfügung gestellt bekommen, um von dem zu berichten, was sie gehört haben. Dass die Berichterstattung ist wie sie ist, hat viel mit geringen Ressourcen und schrumpfenden Budgets zu tun. Das betrifft nicht nur die Berichterstattung über den afrikanischen Kontinent, sondern aus dem Ausland insgesamt. Vor-Ort-Reportagen sind teuer, die Kosten sind meiner Erfahrung nach in den vergangenen Jahren noch deutlich gestiegen. Akkreditierungen – also die journalistische Arbeitserlaubnis – kosten meist mehrere hundert US-Dollar, wenn sie nach oft langem Warten überhaupt erteilt werden. Hinzu kommen Flug- und andere Reisekosten, die Honorare für Dolmetscher*innen und Fixer: Kolleg*innen aus den jeweiligen Regionen, ohne deren Mitarbeit wir häufig nicht weiterkommen. Je schwieriger die Sicherheitslage ist, je komplexer die politische (und militärische) Situation vor Ort, desto mehr sind wir auf ihre Unterstützung, ihre Expertise und ihren Rat angewiesen.

Welches Afrikabild die deutschen und internationalen Medien vermitteln, hat nicht zuletzt damit zu tun, wie nah wir Reporter*innen diesem Kontinent kommen können. Bei der Finanzierung von Recherchereisen kommen selbst die größeren Verlage und Redaktionen an ihre finanziellen Grenzen. Um eine Berichterstattung über den afrikanischen Kontinent zu ermöglichen, die so lebensnah, vielfältig und hintergründig ist, wie es den dortigen Entwicklungen angemessen ist, und wie es die neue Weltordnung meinem Verständnis nach erfordert, brauchen wir mehr direkte Anschauung – also auch deutlich mehr Geld im System.

Dafür muss die Finanzierung der Auslandsberichterstattung auf eine neue Grundlage gestellt, sie muss durch öffentliche Mittel gefördert werden. Denn Recherchen vor Ort und qualitativ hochwertige Berichte lassen sich der Öffentlichkeit kaum kommerziell erfolgreich bereitstellen. Auch die Redaktionen des öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks stoßen an die Grenzen der Finanzierbarkeit, die Rundfunkgebühren lassen sich nicht beliebig erhöhen. Ganz richtig hat Marc Engelhardt in seiner Studie für die Otto-Brenner Stiftung „Das Verblassen der Welt. Auslandsberichterstattung in der Krise“ von 2022 festgestellt, dass Informationen aus dem Ausland in einer globalisierten, multipolaren Welt als ein öffentliches Gut verstanden werden sollten, weil sie für das Funktionieren von Demokratie entscheidend sind: Politiker*innen und Bürger*innen müssen sich ein möglichst realitätsnahes Bild von der Welt machen, um die richtigen politischen Entscheidungen treffen und bei demokratischen Wahlen für Parteien stimmen zu können, die ihre Haltung auch in außenpolitischen Fragen vertreten. Denn ob Klimawandel, Rechtspopulismus oder Sicherheitspolitik: Was in der Welt geschieht, hat unmittelbare Auswirkungen auf das Leben in Deutschland. Dass die Bedeutung des afrikanischen Kontinents auch für Deutschland rapide wächst, belegt die Tatsache, dass die deutsche politische Elite immer häufiger in afrikanischen Ländern zu Gast ist.

 

Die Verantwortung für die in den Beiträgen und Interviews vorgetragenen Inhalte, Meinungen und Quellen liegt bei den jeweiligen Autor*innen.

Journalistin Bettina Rühl arbeitet seit mehr als drei Jahrzehnten schwerpunktmäßig zu Entwicklungen auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent. Seit 2011 ist sie Mitglied des Korrespondent*innennetzwerks weltreporter.net, in dem sie sich von 2017 bis 2021 als Vorsitzende engagierte. Für ihre Berichterstattung über Afrika wurde sie 2020 mit dem Bundesverdienstkreuz ausgezeichnet.

Sinem Adar on Turkey’s dilemmas amid the Israel-Gaza war

Tue, 28/11/2023 - 00:00
Sinem Adar, associate at the Centre for Applied Turkey Studies at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, on Turkey’s response to the Israel-Gaza war. The conversation builds on her recent article for War on the Rocks arguing that the crisis shows the limits of Turkey’s regional influence. She also co-wrote a piece for the Middle East Institute with Hamidreza Azizi, looking at how Turkey and Iran’s interests converge and diverge on this and other issues.

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