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Sub-Saharan Africa

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"The heart of every democracy beats in parliament"

Greeting from Dr Angela Merkel

YouTube, Onlinekas

The establishment of functioning democratic states is the core objective Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in Sub-Saharan Africa. To work towards this goal, KAS has 20 offices across Sub-Saharan Africa. A detailed overview of where we are is provided in the right column.


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Our Regional Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa work on these focus themes:

​​​​Rule of law

The objective of the Rule of Law Program for Sub-Saharan Africa is to help develop and strengthen effective legal systems in line with international law. In this regard, KAS focusses on the independence of the judiciary, constitutionalism, human rights, democracy and regional integration.


Media & political communication

The Media Program for Sub-Saharan Africa is part of the global media programs of KAS. Its activities are focused on democracy promotion and political communication. Its regional orientation strengthens the exchange between media professionals in Africa. Here our practical work is geared toward socio-political information and watchdog role, shaping an independent and pluralistic media landscape and value-centered political communication.


Security Policy Activities

The Security Policy Dialogue in Sub-Saharan Africa (SIPODI) cooperates with parliamentarians, security forces and experts. An environment is created in which political decision-makers and young civil elites can enter into dialogue with the military and jointly pursue the goal of a democratic constitution of the armed forces.


Energy security and climate change

The regional program Energy Security and Climate Change based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, aims to improve the political and social framework conditions for a sustainable climate and energy policy. The program works together with selected decision-makers and multipliers from politics, business, science and civil society.


Political Dialogue West Africa

The main task of the regional program Political Dialogue West Africa (PDWA) is to promote democratic institutions and processes, especially in Côte d'Ivoire, Benin and Togo, but also beyond. The program works with local institutions and organizations from government, legislature and civil society and provides them with financial support and advice on the implementation of educational programs, conferences, workshops or the development of strategic concepts.


Food security

Food security is a key issue in Sub-Saharan Africa. Due to global warming, economic and political crises and rapid population growth, several African countries are affected by food shortages, leading to continued malnutrition, growth retardation and infant mortality (FAO, 2018). In order to contribute to food security, KAS focuses on crisis prevention within the framework of the initiative "A World without Hunger" by promoting stable administrative structures in the field of food security. KAS is active in Kenya, the DR Congo and in the Sahel border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. On the other hand, in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, KAS supports the strengthening of women's land ownership and land use rights.



Over the past 10-15 years, African countries have experienced sustained economic growth, sometimes at very high rates. However, the rapidly growing population, the strong dependence on raw material exports and the limited domestic value chain make the economy vulnerable to economic crises. In order to counteract these, KAS works with local partners and the German Chambers of Commerce.


Our Country Programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa

The priorities in the country programs are tailored to the respective host country and its needs – because the success of our work depends on acceptance by and cooperation with our partners in Africa.


West Africa

The political framework conditions in Western Africa cannot be generalized due to the very different starting positions and development paths; here a differentiation is needed in order to draw an accurate picture of the current situation in the region. The G5 countries (Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Burkina Faso) face considerable challenges, particularly in the area of security. The work of the KAS’ Sahel regional program focuses on the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and political pluralism, the participation of civil society, the promotion of cooperation in the Sahel region, as well as order and security policy.

Nigeria, too, faces a multitude of security and socio-political challenges, such as economic problems, corruption, poverty and above all the conflict with the Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast, as well as the continuing dissatisfaction of the population and attacks by militant groups in the extreme south of the country. The Nigeria country program is designed to contribute to improving the situation by implementing and advancing the German Foreign Office-funded security sector reform together with political decision-makers, representatives of Nigerian security agencies, representatives of the judiciary, ministries, authorities and civil society. In addition, within the framework of the activities supported by BMZ funds, the most important task of the Foundation's work in Nigeria is to communicate and promote democratic values and processes as well as the rule of law and subsidiarity.

In addition, very different framework conditions can be observed in Benin, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire, which are among the three countries covered by the regional program Political Dialogue West Africa (PDWA). Benin, which was long regarded as an anchor of stability in the region, is currently facing a political crisis. In Togo, too, the political crisis cannot yet be described as over. The domestic political situation on Côte d'Ivoire is also not without challenges at the moment. After the collapse of the grand coalition last year, the local elections at the end of 2018 saw not only irregularities in the ballot but also deaths in politically motivated violent clashes.

In a regional comparison, Ghana can score with a stable economic situation. However, there are challenges in this context in the area of vocational training and the creation of jobs for the predominantly young population. Here, the international office supports young entrepreneurs and start-ups by establishing nationwide networks and hubs.

In Senegal, President Macky Sall was re-confirmed in the first round of elections in February 2019 with 58 percent of the votes in office. The aim of the KAS's engagement in Senegal is to strengthen and consolidate the development of democracy and decentralization. Democratic and market-economy structures are to be strengthened and the political framework conditions influenced accordingly. In neighboring Gambia, after 22 years of autocratic rule, a profound democratization process has been underway since January 2017. Since 2018, KAS has been the first German political foundation to support the democratic stabilization of the country with local measures.


Central Africa

Cameroon is divided on the domestic political front; violence and conflicts are present in all geographical parts of the country. The regional program Energy Security and Climate Change, based in Yaoundé, aims to improve the framework conditions for a sustainable climate and energy policy on the continent most severely affected by the consequences of climate change worldwide.

The current domestic political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is dominated by the past presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections, which took place simultaneously on 30 December 2018 with a delay of two years. The three-fold postponement of the election date in the young post-conflict state, which first held free elections in 2006, brought Africa's second-largest country into a serious constitutional crisis. In line with the country's problems, the KAS's work focuses on strengthening democratic structures and the rule of law, strengthening the participation of civil society groups and women in political decision-making processes, cooperation with democratic parties and national security forces.


East Africa

In Uganda, due to the challenges posed by democratic politics, the KAS is mainly concerned with consolidating political pluralism and the democratic rule of law, strengthening the participation of civil society, and performing social guardian, mediation, and policy-making functions on the part of civil society organizations. A special focus of our work here is on youth in the country. We also focus on the promotion of principles of the social market economy and the strengthening of institutions and actors with a leading regulatory function for the social market economy.

In Tanzania, a clear regression of democratic development can be observed in recent years. The main concern of the KAS in Tanzania therefore continues to be to contribute to the establishment of a functioning democratic state. This includes developing a functioning multi-party system, strengthening the legislative branch vis-à-vis the executive branch, promoting decentralized structures, local political decision-making and transparent procedures based on the rule of law. Another focus is on political education to educate the population, especially women and young people, about their democratic rights.

In Kenya, in March 2018, President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga reached an agreement known as the "handshake", which ended the blockade after the presidential elections in 2017. The KAS's work in Kenya focuses on the promotion and consolidation of democracy, the decentralization process initiated by the new constitution, the strengthening of civil society and the promotion of the social market economy.


Southern Africa

Examples of democratic renewal can be found in southern Africa. Presidents or dictators who ruled for decades were forced to resign along with their patronage networks in order to make room for democratic reforms (e.g. in Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa). Especially in connection with the "election year 2019" with presidential and parliamentary elections in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi, new starting points for the work of the KAS arise. In Zimbabwe, the political and economic situation remains volatile in the second year after the fall of Mugabe. Nevertheless, KAS country office makes use of the new political space in order to carry out political education work with new cooperation partners, e.g. the media. In addition, measures in the area of the social market economy are increasingly being implemented.

Although the political situation in Namibia is largely stable, the economic situation is stagnant with high unemployment and social inequality. The work of the KAS focuses on the one hand on the area of parliamentary cooperation and on the other hand on the promotion of women. Another focus is on regional integration.

South Africa is regarded in many respects as the engine for the African region. It is precisely for this reason that it is important to promote regional networking in order to be able to deal efficiently with transnational issues. Our work focuses on

  1. Strengthening Parliament and creating a pluralistic multiparty system
  2. Promoting the rule of law and good governance (incl. anti-corruption, transparency and accountability measures)
  3. Strengthening civil society and activating political participation
  4. Fostering international policy with a focus on the role of South Africa on the African continent
  5. Promoting the role model of Social Market Economy, economic reforms and sustainability

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Selected projects of our department

Exclusive and selected projects of our department (possibly in cooperation with other departments or external partners) are presented in the following overview.

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Topic pages of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

We are significantly involved in the following KAS-wide thematic pages. Here you will regularly find various contributions (including publications and events) from our department.

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Dr. Stefan Friedrich


Head of the Department Sub-Saharan Africa +49 30 26996-3491


Team member

Mathias Kamp

Mathias Kamp bild

Policy Advisor for East Africa and Multilateral Issues Sub-Saharan Africa +49 30 26996 -3426
Team member

Dr. Susanne Conrad

Susanne Conrad (2021)

Policy Advisor Rule of Law and Security in Subsaharan Africa +49 30 26996-3471
Team member

Henri Bohnet

Henri Bohnet bild

Policy Advisor for Southern Africa, Media and Political Parties Sub-Saharan Africa +49 30 26996-3289
Team member

Anna Wasserfall

Anna Wasserfall bild

Policy Advisor for West Africa and Digital Formats Sub-Saharan Africa +49 30 26996-3679

Dr Patricia Enssle


Desk Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa in the Department International Dialogue Programs +49 30 26996-3796

Anke Erdmann

Secretary / Assistant for Sub-Saharan Africa in the Department International Dialogue Programs +49 30 26996 3655
Single title
May 16, 2019
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Publications to the topic

UNO-Soldat in Mali IMAGO / Le Pictorium
The Blue Helmet Mission in Mali is facing its end
Further aggravation of the security crisis in the Sahel
Schwimmende Schiffe in einem Kanal in Namibia. KAS / Natalie Russmann
Between Hype, hope and tangible changes
The potential of green hydrogen for Namibia and Africa.
The National Assembly Globe in Nigeria Ovinuchi Prince Ejiohuo / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
Nigeria before the 2023 elections
The crisis-ridden country faces the mammoth logistical task of conducting the biggest elections Africa has ever seen.
Die Flagge von Segeal. Pexels / aboodi vesakaran
Parlamentswahlen in Senegal
Auf dem Weg zu einer dritten „Alternance“ oder zu einem dritten Mandat?
William Ruto World Trade Organization / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Kenia hat gewählt
William Ruto mit knappem Votum zum Sieger erklärt
WählerInnenregistrierung Kenia Reuters/ Edwin Waita
Hustler vs. Dynasty: Quo vadis, Kenia?
Die ersten Mehrzweckhubschrauber vom Typ NH-90 landen in Gao/Mali im Rahmen der UN-Mission MINUSMA, am 31.01.2017. Bundeswehr / PAO MINUSMA GAO
Deutschland sollte sein Engagement im Sahelraum ausbauen
Ein Wähler nimmt in Kapstadt an der Lokalwahl teil und wirft seinen Stimmzettel in eine Wahlurne. Eine Wahlhelferin prüft. Sibulele Mabusela / Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.
Lokalwahlen in Südafrika 2021
ANC verliert erstmals absolute Mehrheit – Kleine Parteien legen zu
Namibia Flickr / ER Bauer / CC by 2.0
„When South Africa sneezes, Namibia catches a fever”
Die Auswirkungen der südafrikanischen Ausschreitungen auf Namibia
Genocide Memorial in Windhoek dpa
Abschluss des Aussöhnungsabkommen zwischen Namibia und Deutschland in Sicht?
Der lange Weg der Aussöhnung

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Media library

Ein Gespräch mit unserem Experten Jakob Kerstan
Demokratische Republik Kongo: Stiftungsarbeit im krisengeplagten Land
Wir blicken in die Demokratische Republik Kongo. Jakob Kerstan leitet das Auslandsbüro und spricht mit uns über die sehr schwierige Lage im Land und wie die Menschen damit umgehen.
E-lection Bridge Conference 2022: Côte d'Ivoire
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Discussion Series “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”
Strategic Engagement in Africa: Turkey and the Gulf States
Third public digital event of a three-part series on “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”, organised by the KAS department of Sub Saharan-African in September 2021.
Discussion Series “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”
China's Strategic Engagement in Africa
Second digital event of a three-part series on “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”, organised by the KAS department of Sub Saharan-African in September 2021.
Discussion Series “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”
Russia's Strategic Engagenment in Africa
First public digital event of a three-part series on “Authoritarian States as Donors in Africa”, organised by the KAS department of Sub Saharan-African in September 2021.