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Thünen Institutes Africa Concept

© Thünen-Institut/AK

Thünen Institutes Africa Concept

Thünen Institute has set itself the goal of strengthening and expanding science-based partnerships with Africa in a coherent and long-term manner. As in Germany, Thünen Institute also focuses in Africa on approaches for the sustainable use of natural resources that are economically, ecologically and socially sound.

Background and Objective

We have expanded our research activities with and in Africa over the past years. In 2008, when the institute was foundedand the focus was predominantly on German agriculture only cooperation with four different institutions in four different African countries (Cape Verde, Morocco, Madagascar and South Africa) existed. Since then we opened up our research focus on international scales. For important needs - a stable development of African economies, an improvement in food security or a sustainable use of tropical forests – the cooperation between African institutions and the Thünen Institute has increased in recent years. Today we count cooperations in 23 African countries,and the number is constantly increasing.

However, so far there was neither a Thünen-wide overview of respective projects and co-operations nor a systematic exchange of experiences. Thus Thünen Institute intends to improve the internal capacity to engage in projects focussing on Africa. Moreover the transparency within the institute as well as external activities on Africa should be increased and finally the network with African partners expanded and strengthened.


As first step we collected and scanned all Thünen Africa activities using the internal project- and cooperation database. With this short overview colleagues at the different Thünen departments who are or were active in projects or cooperations with African institutions were visited and interviewed on their experiences. With the knowledge of the ongoing Africa activities we organised the  first Thünen Africa-Day in January 2020, as a comprehensive platform for exchange and collaboration with regard to the African continent but aside of research topics. The results of the discussions during the Thünen Africa-Day are the basis for the development of guidelines and following measures to improve the internal and external Thünen activities and interactions with and in Africa.

Further steps of our concept are:

  • provide Guidelines for project planning for cooperation with African institutions,
  • establish an Africa contact point of the Thünen Institute for external actors,
  • create an internal network of scientists with common geographical research interests

Links and Downloads

Thünen Institute ́s Engagement in Africa - Overview 2018/2019

First Thünen Africa-Day

Thünen Topic: Global Food and Resources

Developing science-based policy advice - Report PhD Summer School 2019

Flyer: Thünen Institute ́s Engagement in and for Africa


Permanent task 9.2017

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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