Africa and Europe at a crossroad?

Africa and Europe at a crossroad? – “Yes, they are”, I argued in a panel discussion in Hamburg on December 2, 2015. “And Europe should better watch out not to drift apart. In its own interests.”

Five forces are describing the current situation:

Starting with the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007, followed by the banking crisis, financial crisis, sovereign debt crises, the Euro crisis, the Greek problem, the refugee crisis, and now – in addition – the islamic terror threat. As a result, we are dealing mainly with internal problems. No wonder people have become anxious and scared and more and more political forces are emerging in favor of disintegration, protectionism and ring-fencing.

For eight full years …

Europe has been in crises mode.


As a consequence, we are not paying attention to what is going on in the outside world, e.g. in Africa.

A critical mass of African countries has left the vicious cycle of ever more poverty and misery. The steady increase in the division of labor – a constant factor in human mankind’s history! – has reached a globalized level! Global value creation networks are spanning over Africa, the growing middle class has logged into the global knowledge and communication society. Hence, a critical mass of African countries have become part of the

Global Society.


drei.pngEast African mobile banking companies are already competing with Austrian banks in Romania. In some African countries big data applications for instant market analyses have become standard procedure even for small shops. Another big data application provides a real time schedule for the decentralized and highly chaotic traffic system run by “Matatus” in Dar-es-Salaam. And looking into the “futurity we already can see today” (Peter Drucker), transport systems based on drones might leapfrog a full completion of road networks and the 3D-Printing technology might make the shortage of skilled labor irrelevant.

As globalization and digitization are coming together on a “greenfield”, Africa has become a …

Laboratory of the Future.


Africa’s success stories cannot be told without China’s successes in Africa. They point at what Fareed Zacharia calls the …

Third Global Power Shift in Modern Times:

After Europe started dominating the world 500 years ago, the US took over by the end of the 19th century, now we are experiencing the “rising of the rest”.

How will the nature of the global society look like in the future and what will Europe’s position be?


As an indicator we can look into the …

Global Knowledge Structure:

During the noughties the West and its democratic liberal nation-state lost its status as a role model for African countries. Now it is the successful Chinese authoritarian state-capitalistic system, which is copied all over the globalizing world. Ethiopia and Rwanda are the economically highly successful examples in Africa.


Looking at these five forces, yes, I think …

Africa and Europe are drifting apart.

The reason is not Africa as a continent of disaster, as we usually think in Europe. It rather is Europe as a continent failing to cope with the complexity of the new world.

In Europe we should worry about the nature of the global society and our own role in it in the future. If we are not part of the “global world of ideas” and social innovations, we will not only lose a few percent points in export growths, we will lose access to the dynamics of the this world.

How to escape the downward spiral of Europe’s role in Africa will be the topic of my next blog post.
(Alternatively, German speakers can look up my book “Der schwarze Tiger – Was wir von Afrika lernen können”)


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One comment

  1. very interesting. I live in Florida, US. Originally from Austria. Will be moving to Dominican Republic, which is another world. It is fascinating to see all the developments in our world. I have wondered about all these issues but have never come across real useful information. Will be reading the book.

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