For the foreseeable future, political authority in Africa will be increasingly intertwined with and shaped by the megatrends. African societies are becoming younger, larger, more digital, and more urban. They have to adapt to the consequences of climate change and thus make new demands on their states and governments. Social movements are putting pressure on established elites and political systems. These processes of change can promote democratic structures, but also autocratic tendencies. At the moment, the latter trend prevails in many states worldwide. The majority of African countries can be classified as electoral or closed autocracies. We investigate the conditions under which megatrends work in one direction or the other.
In West African states, criticism of the “neo-colonial” CFA Franc currency and calls for monetary reform are not new. In this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight, Robin Frisch (University of Bayreuth) explains what monetary sovereignty means and how it is debated in CFA Franc countries. A profound monetary reform away from the CFA Franc offers a potential way out. Proposals exist, but they lack implementation.
Urbanisation offers great potential for Africa’s economic and social development but the rapid transformation is also putting a strain on Africa’s cities. Citizens have long demanded participation in urban governance that goes beyond elections. Although participatory processes have become increasingly evident, they are still far from being institutionalised at scale. This policy brief argues that participatory processes need to be thoroughly embedded in politics in order to move beyond particularistic gains towards a structural improvement of relations between citizens, CSOs, and local governments.
On the occasion of its G7 presidency, the German government is welcoming heads of state and government to a summit at Schloss Elmau from June 26 to 28. Many issues on the agenda – climate, food security, economic recovery after Covid-19, among others – affect African societies and states in particular. Yet, this aspect is rarely part of the discussions at the G7, says Axel Berger, acting deputy director at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS). In this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight, we talk with him about the need for G7 debates to be more outward-looking, especially where it concerns its African partners.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, we have been witness to a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Black Sea region. At the same time, another one is already looming on the horizon in many African countries. The loss of grain and food imports means that it will be more difficult for Africans to obtain these goods and, above all, pay for them. We spoke to agricultural economist Bettina Rudloff (SWP) about why food security in Africa is often dependent on imports and what options for action exist for African and international actors. She argues that we already have valuable initiatives and tools at our disposal, but we lack a strategic approach. Cooperation with so-called non-traditional humanitarian donors such as China is also an option.
Megatrends have become ubiquitous phenomena in public policy debates. A thorough understanding of what this concept entails is often missing. We address this gap by unpacking the notion “megatrend” and tracing the significance it has for understanding the transformation of African societies.
The European Union had many plans for the summit with the African Union in February, especially in the area of energy transition. But apart from a new investment package, few results followed. When it comes to the climate-energy nexus, relations are strained because of European plans for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Here, African partners feel that they are being treated unfairly and that their own interests are not adequately represented in the partnership. Thus, the European Union must reflect on whether it is an attractive partner for African countries.