“Go Africa... Go Germany” is an exchange programme by the German Agency for Civic Education, developed to address a recognized lack of in-depth education about Africa in Germany. Founded in 2007, it is a continuation of former German President Horst Köhler's “Partnership with Africa” initiative.
Debates about Africa´s future prospects remain, by and large, blanket discussions that tend to ignore the diversity of specific developments. Media coverage often focuses on the continent´s conflict-ridden regions and major problem areas, whereas positive developments receive little or no mention. This was seen as an educational gap needing to be filled, especially with regard to Africa's growing importance internationally.
Each year since 2007, the Federal Agency for Civic Education has granted 24 talented students and young graduates from Africa and Germany scholarships, which enable them to take part in a high-level educational seminar in Africa and Germany. It is a direct exchange of an African and a German group who first spend two weeks together in Germany and then in Africa. There is always a regional focus within Africa.
In 2007, the partner region was southern Africa (focus Namibia), in 2008/2009 eastern Africa (Tanzania/Uganda) and in 2010 west Africa (Ghana/Nigeria). Initially, the programme was originally intended to run for three years, but was extended because of its great success. In 2010/2011, the focus was on South Africa and Swaziland, in 2011/2012, the group went to Kenya and South Sudan, and 2012/2013 the regional focus is Senegal and Ghana. The focus for 2013/2014 will again be Namibia.
The itineraries are always demanding. The students partake in a complex series of lectures, debates, and presentations by high-ranking politicians and business leaders, as well as cultural tours. The students are encouraged to consider social, historical and political issues from a new perspective and to challenge their preconceptions. For the German students this means distancing themselves from the Eurocentric way in which Africa is often viewed. The final goal is for all the students to develop a more differentiated perspective on their distant neighbour.
In between the visits to Germany and Africa, the participants each write an academic paper and afterwards, a joint paper is published. The topic of this paper depends on the focus of that specific year's programme.
Participants are chosen with a call for papers on three political and social themes issued in Germany and the respective African region. Since 2008, a jury comprising former scholarship-holders, the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Office of the Federal President have jointly selected the scholarship-holders.
All of the seminars are held in English and the programme is financed by Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
February 2013 © GIC Africa