Introduction Germany’s Africa policy is characterized by a twin paradox: First, there is a striking difference between Germany’s role as a major international player vis-à-vis Africa ever since its readmission to international politics after 1955 on the one hand, and the conspicuous lack of political or economic interest in Africa on the other. Germany is the second to fourth single most important bilateral donor in sub-Saharan Africa. On average it has been the second most important trading partner in these countries and the fourth most important source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). At the end of the Cold War Germany maintained a dense diplomatic network with 40 fully-fledged diplomatic missions in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, second, this relative importance – as seen from an African perspective – has not translated into substantial academic interest. There are few, and mainly these are descriptive, exceptions to this picture, like the contributions to the edited volumes published by Bley and Tetzlaff (1978) and Steinweg (1982), and some articles by Hofmeier (2002, 1986). These are based in structuralism and a rational-choice logic of appropriateness, although this has rarely been made explicit (along this line see also Jungbauer 1998). Some contributions were inspired by concern over the government’s Southern Africa policy (Czempiel 1976, Bley and Tetzlaff 1978). Visiting African scholars added to this knowledge (Geldenhuys 1984; Kum’a Ndumbe III 1992; Eyinla 1996). Some insights came from country studies, mainly on those countries that also interested the media, like Namibia or South Africa. Apart from regular monitoring by Germans in ‘Africa Contemporary Record’ (1970/71-1987/88), very few non-German academic contributions can be singled out (cf. Payne 1990; Jabri 1990). Typically, German Africa policy seldom featured in comparative analysis. Overall, academic concern for Germany’s Africa policy has been marked by little reference to IR as a discipline or to African Studies (cf. Engel and Kappel 2002b). Only recently have attempts been made to introduce new theoretical and methodological perspectives.