First Africa Forum Baden-Württemberg and BW-Burundi Conference for new partnerships

Baden-Württemberg's partnership with the African country of Burundi has existed for more than 30 years.

Commitment in Africa is becoming increasingly important. There are partnerships and expertise in Baden-Württemberg.

Stuttgart, October 29, 2022.

Cooperation with Africa is becoming increasingly important. There are partnerships and expertise in Baden-Württemberg. In Baden-Württemberg there is now an opportunity to redesign cooperation with the Africa Forum and the BW-Burundi Conference. The country partnership with Burundi has existed since the 1980s and is mainly supported by civil society. The African diaspora plays an important and so far little present role in civil commitment to partnerships with Africa. In order to rethink both aspects of cooperation, over 27 people came to the Filderhalle in Leinfelden-Echterdingen on October 28th and 350th. The Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) and the Forum of Cultures invited the event together with eleven Afrodiaspora organizations that are committed to global sustainability issues and fair partnerships.

Afrodiaspora expertise

Under the motto “Changing the Narrative”, concentrated development policy expertise from civil society activists, especially from Afrodiasporic organizations and representatives of federal and state politics, gathered at the first Baden-Württemberg Africa Forum. They discussed what new directions, approaches, ideas and values ​​global partnerships of the future need and set topics for new narratives.

Dr. Rachid L’Aoufir, Chairman of the African-German Working Group and Transnational Corridors e.V., emphasized: “The Africa Forum activates the potential of African-German civil society. Trust is built between stakeholders. We now need to monetize the knowledge of diaspora actors, strengthen diaspora intermediaries and we need to reach the local level. This is where the sustainability of the diaspora actors’ actions comes into play. The Africa Forum must be institutionalized.”

The State Secretary for Media Policy and Federal Representative of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Rudi Hoogvliet, thanked the Afrodiaspora for their commitment: “The perspective, experiences and expertise of migrants must be given an appropriate place in Baden-Württemberg’s development policy. The Africa Forum offers the migrant community a stage for direct political participation. My thanks and recognition go to those involved who, with their commitment, their commitment and, above all, their persistence, are paving the way to making migrant participation a matter of course.”

Partnership between Baden-Württemberg and Burundi

At the BW-Burundi conference on Friday, the long-standing partnership was filled with new content, strengthened and deepened. In addition to the funding program, it works! Burundi, which finances small projects, is intended to expand cooperation in selected subject areas in the long term. This is done in collaboration with the Council for Development Cooperation (REZ) and the SEZ. Positive examples of long-term cooperation are the German courses at the University of Burundi, which have been supported since 2017, as well as the agroforestry program, which has been funded since 2018 and which combines coffee cultivation of the popular partnership coffee, reforestation and nature conservation and is implemented by institutions and universities in both regions.

With both events, the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg offered a platform for global partnerships and thus supported better networking. “Mutual trust and understanding as a real community project are the strengths of the almost 40-year partnership between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg. Positive dynamics on all sides now give us the opportunity to deepen our connection and think about the approaches in the longer term. With the help of cooperation clusters in the areas of agriculture, education, governance and health, the partnership can grow slowly, naturally and with a sense of proportion,” emphasized Rudi Hoogvliet, State Secretary for Media Policy and Federal Representative of the State of Baden-Württemberg.

Changing the Narrative

Discussing and establishing new perspectives and new narratives about Africa was at the top of the agenda at the first Africa Forum Baden-Württemberg. How is the African continent perceived? What role does the shared colonial history play in this? How can we retell the story and build a bridge between Afrodiasporic and other civil society activists? It became more than clear at the event that the potential and the will to help shape things are there.

Tuyage Kandi

Translated into Kirundi, the official language of Burundi, it means: Let's discuss together again. At the BW-Burundi conference, committed and active people from civil society and politics worked together to develop strategic issues relating to the partnership between Baden-Württemberg and Burundi. In addition, the funding decision for a further phase of the agroforestry program was handed over at the conference. Workshops invited experts in other areas such as health, science and education as well as administration and municipalities to discuss new concrete cooperation ideas and present them to the state government. A key result of the conference was that such programs should definitely be designed jointly by Baden-Württemberg and Burundi and not from Baden-Württemberg. The BW-Burundi conference was an important milestone in deepening the partnership.

Dr. Aloys Misago, head of the German courses at the University of Burundi, the German Center and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, emphasized: “It is very good to be developing cooperation programs in Stuttgart together with representatives of Baden-Württemberg organizations. In this way, both interests can be taken into account from the outset. At the same time, I invite everyone who is interested to definitely travel to Burundi and talk to the partners there. Because the term “partnerships” implies that a lot of time and opportunities for exchange are needed – just like in a partnership between two people.”

“Partnerships are based on encounters,” emphasized Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the SEZ: “The BW-Burundi conference laid an important foundation for the partnership to think more together in the future. With the BW-Burundi Conference, in conjunction with the University of Freiburg's international symposium on Burundi and its colonial past and the film screenings at the Burundi Film Autumn, we want to awaken more openness and interest in cooperation in both regions. At the same time, the Burundian partners who traveled to the conference can network several times and get to know Baden-Württemberg partners.”

The SEZ Burundi Competence Center was responsible for organizing the BW-Burundi conference, which networks and coordinates Baden-Württemberg's commitment with activities in Burundi and promotes existing and new partnerships between Baden-Württemberg and Burundi. Further information

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