Making Globalisation Fair – New Partnership with Africa

February 15, 2017 | Forum for the Future | BMZ, Berlin, Germany

On February 15, 2017, former President of Germany, Prof Horst Köhler, did not equivocate in his calls for a development policy based on the concept of ‘interdependence’ and not on ‘aid’ during his speech on the “new partnership with Africa”. Köhler praised the concrete impulses for successful and equal cooperation with Africa contained in the ‘Marshall Plan’ presented by event host Dr Gerd Müller in January.

Together with Amadau Diallo, Vice President of DHL Global Forwarding, and Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Benin’s Planning Minister, Köhler and Müller talked about the German government’s new strategic development policy for Africa. It was the third event in the “Forum for the Future: Making Globalisation Fair” dialogue series organized by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum.

The event was so well received, there was standing room only for some of the 320 guests, while others followed a live feed of the podium discussion from another room. Federal Development Minister Müller cited the popularity of the event as an excellent indication of the immense interest in Africa: “Chancellor Angela Merkel avowed intensifying partnerships with Africa as a priority for Germany’s G20 Presidency,” Minister Müller noted, before emphasising the continent’s key role in our shared future and interests. “Climate change, poverty, hunger, conflict, and terrorism – these are issues that can only be addressed if we work closely with the 55 countries that comprise Africa.”

In his address, Horst Köhler warned of the dangers presented by the current rise of nationalism in some Western democracies and called for concerted action: “The fact that nationalistic ‘simplifiers’ are winning the upper hand at this critical juncture, when what we need most are global answers to complex questions, is the perhaps understandable backlash from many to the dark side of globalization.” He noted that development policy should be envisioned as a policy of interdependence, a global strategic approach for creating better development opportunities for poorer countries based on the imperative to act with empathy and fairness.

The ‘Marshall Plan’ introduced by Minister Müller included some important impulses in the right direction, Köhler said, such as international tax laws and guidelines to stop the illegal flow of capital from Africa; trade agreements tailored to create jobs in Africa and not to protect the European agricultural industry; and a climate regime to slow global warming and help poorer countries implement adaptation strategies. Prof Köhler also stressed that the ‘Marshall Plan’ should not be misconstrued as a paternalistic approach, and that our image of Africa should not pander to emotions such as pity and fear.

Impressions of the event

Photo on top: Prof Horst Köhler, Federal President ret. Photo: Heine

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