Political affairs


Germany’s guidelines for Africa

The Federal Government Policy Guidelines for Africa, developed by the Federal Foreign Office in 2017, sets out approaches for leveraging opportunities, tackling risks and overcoming crises. Developments such as the global migration movements of recent times is just one of many examples of the direct impact expansion in the African continent can have  on Germany and Europe within  short spaces of time.

Africa is  a continent full of opportunities. Its demographic development, wealth of natural resources and growing middle class have the potential to give rise to gigantic growth markets in the near future. Democratic institutions have grown and been supported up in many countries. A considerable number of countries are assuming responsibility and are working to resolve conflicts peacefully within the framework of the African Union and other regional organizations. However, even with this progress many African nations continue to face great challenges and risks. Growing poverty, systematic human rights violations, violence, environmental degradation and corruption are some of the depravities threatening the development, security and stability of entire regions.

The Federal Government’s Africa strategy takes a comprehensive, networked approach in its response to rapid change and the risks and opportunities of these developments. The instruments of Germany’s policy on Africa, such as humanitarian assistance, peace missions and development projects, are closely coordinated to this end. In concert with its European partners, the Federal Government is acting in a decisive and substantive manner that is based on values and human rights and is geared towards mutual interests.


Political Relations with Kenya

The political relations between Germany and Kenya date back to 1963 when the former Democratic Republic of Germany was the first foreign nation to recognize the ne

Kenyan President Kenyatta in Berlin
Kenyan President Kenyatta in Berlin © dpa
w state of the Republic of Kenya after its independence. Presently, the bilateral collaboration covers a wide range of areas such as political dialogue, partnership on external policy issues, support for Kenyan institutions, development cooperation as well as police cooperation. The German Embassy in Nairobi is the main point of communication between the Government of Kenya and the different German Federal Ministries. Its staff coordinates various project activities together with Kenyan and international partners on the spot, participates in the EU-Kenya political dialogue and interacts with several state and non-state actors such as religious institutions or non-governmental organizations. The Embassy also observes and reports on significant political developments in the country.

There is constant dialogue with the different political parties in the Kenyan Parliament. Part of maintaining agile political relations involves coordinating the position of both countries on international issues such as UN dossiers. The Embassy also facilitates high-level incoming visits from Germany and supports the exchange between Kenyan and German political institutions such as foundations or Members of Parliament. In 2015, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came to Kenya for an official visit, and in 2016 H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta paid a visit to Berlin.

Promoting Human Rights 

The promotion of human rights is one of the pillars of German foreign policy around the globe. We believe that security, stability and, eventually, economic development and prosperity cannot flourish without the

Neues Symbol für Menschenrechte: Taube in UN-Blau
Logo Human Rights © dpa
observance and respect for human rights. In this regard, it is right to say that the work for human rights is not only a moral and legal obligation, but it lies in Germany’s fundamental interests. With its Bill of Rights in Chapter 4, Kenya’s Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world. Germany partners with the Kenyan Government, religious institutions as well as the civil society to work for its realization.

A crucial role in this regard is one of Human Rights Defenders. Based on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1999), support for human rights defenders is a long established policy objective of Germany and the European Union. Human rights defenders are those individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Human Rights Defender


Humanitarian  Assistance

Humanitarian assistance supports those who were subject to natural disasters, epidemics or conflicts or are in danger to be so. The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the most important humanitarian partners and takes part in the main decision-making bodies in the UN. According to the principle of subsidiarity, the government of the affected state has the responsibility for the protection of their citizens. International aid takes over when the government is unable or unwilling to act upon their responsibility sufficiently.

A child receives Rotavirus Vaccine
A child receives Rotavirus Vaccine © UNICEFKenya/2016/Noorani

The main focus of our humanitarian assistance in Kenya is the support of refugees, coming mostly from Somalia and South Sudan, who are situated in refugee camps in Dadaab (around 233,000) and Kakuma (around 160,000). The work of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was funded with 3.5 million Euros in 2017 for this cause, as well as the work of the World Food Program of the UN (WFP) with 11.5 million Euros. UNICEF was supported with 3 million Euros for its projects in Kenya. Furthermore, several non-government organizations and religious institutions received 2.6 million Euros. Some of the supported projects are conducted not only in Kenya, but also in Somalia.




Germany: Member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-20

On 8 June 2018, Germany was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 term. This is the sixth time that the country has assumed major responsibility for peace and security in this function.Germany has been a non permanent member of the Security Council for a two year term since 1 January 2019. Germany will help to manage and prevent conflicts around the world in this role. In addition, Germany’s priorities will include climate and security, women, peace and security, humanitarian aid workers and international disarmament .

Germany member of the United Nations Security Council Logo
On 8 June 2018, Germany was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 term. Peace, justice, innovation, partnership - these are the things Germany wants to play in the United Nations. © Federal Foreign Office / dpa

With its five permanent members and ten non permanent members elected for two year terms, the UN Security Council is the only body whose decisions are binding under international law. Germany last held a non permanent seat on the Security Council in 2011 12. Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa were also elected to non permanent seats on the Security Council.

Germany’s priorities in the Security Council

The Security Council is the most important organ of the United Nations for guaranteeing peace and security worldwide. Germany’s membership will therefore also focus on conflict resolution. Moreover, Germany will work to ensure that the Security Council is even more active in the area of conflict prevention than was the case in the past.

Germany also intends to include selected issues on the agenda of the Security Council that go beyond the crises of today. This includes, firstly, links between as climate change is becoming a security issue for an increasing number of countries, for example for small island states that are exposed to rising sea levels. In August 2018, Germany established the together with Nauru. Germany will build on this in the Security Council.

Secondly, Germany will advance the which aims not only to help women play a stronger role in preventing and managing conflicts, but also to better protect them against sexualised violence in conflicts. Both of these are core elements of German foreign, security, defence and development policy. It is in this context that Germany is assuming the co chairmanship, together with Peru, of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security in 2019.

Thirdly, Germany will work to strengthen the humanitarian system. The focus here will be on improving the application of protecting humanitarian aid workers, ensuring humanitarian access and improving the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts. As the Germany is already one of the most important stakeholders in the humanitarian field.

Fourthly, Germany intends to inject fresh impetus into the issue of disarmament and arms control and is committed to a new international arms control regime, one that is not just limited to nuclear, but also includes autonomous arms systems, for example.
Finally, the joint consideration of human rights and security remains another key priority for Germany in the Security Council. Massive human rights violations, which are often the cause of conflicts, must also be discussed in the Security Council.

Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

Germany: Member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-20

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