Africa is currently featuring strongly in the German and European public debate. The political interest in the continent is mainly driven by the fear that population growth and global warming will lead to enormous migration pressure from Africa as they lead to a severe lack of productive employment opportunities for the youth. The countermeasures that are currently discussed and partly already implemented in Europe range from more restrictive immigration policies to a scaling-up of foreign aid as a means to tackle the root causes of migration. At the same time, there are increasingly more optimistic voices. They point to the high African growth rates in the 2000s and regard them as a sign of a large economic potential in terms of rising trade and investment opportunities. In contrast to what the often very clear assertions in the public debate suggest, there are still many open research questions regarding Africa’s international economic relations, for example when it comes to assessing the quantitative importance of climate-induced migration.
The Kiel Institute Africa Initiative is meant to help overcome this discrepancy. For this purpose, we will build a network of experts mainly from economics, who will exchange research findings, work on joint research projects, and engage in a dialogue with policymakers and the general public. The focus of the network’s activities will be on Africa-Europe relations. It’s work will be facilitated by the Kiel Institute’s IfW Communication, Events and Grant Centers. Furthermore, Africa Initiative will closely collaborate with existing initiatives at the Kiel Institute. This in particular holds for the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet), which fosters the exchange between researchers and development practitioners from Europe and Africa. It also applies to the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM) - with its focus on the management of migrant flows from Africa - and to the Kiel Center for Globalisation (KCG), where the analysis of global value chains including developing countries is among the main research areas.
The topics addressed by Kiel Institute Africa Initiative include:
- Migration decisions
- Regional integration
- Participation in global value chains
- Foreign direct investment
- The role of foreign aid