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The Project

Major transformations in Africa

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. 

The “Megatrends Afrika” project

In the project “Megatrends Afrika: Strukturelle Transformation und internationale Zeitenwende”, we 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.

We are currently focussing our research on three areas:

  • Violent Actors and Transformation of Conflict
  • Megatrends between Processes of Democratization and Autocratization
  • Global Power Shifts and Multipolarity

Megatrends Afrika is a joint project of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the German Institute of 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.


Informing the debate on Africa policy

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.