Global Opening for Hungary: A New Beginning for Hungarian Africa Policy?

by István Tarrósy and Péter Morenth


Following the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union it held between January and June 2011, the Hungarian government introduced a new foreign policy strategy of “Global Opening.” As part of this strategic concept, Hungary intends to revitalize linkages with countries of sub-Saharan Africa with which it once had intensive relations, in particular during the bipolar era. For the first time since the change of the political system in 1989, Africa-related concepts also have been included in plans fostered by the government that has held office since 2010. As one of the very few scholarly articles addressing the issue of relations between Hungary and Africa, the present paper aims first of all to give an overview of historic ties. Second, it analyzes the current potential for Hungarian involvement in Africa, especially after the Budapest Africa Forum of June 2013, with a fuller insight into Hungarian–South African relations as the most thriving framework of cooperation. Finally, it touches upon issues of a long-term strategic Hungarian policy towards Africa.

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István Tarrósy is Assistant Professor and Director, Africa Research Center, Department of Political Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pécs, and a Fulbright Research Fellow (2013) and Hungarian Eötvös State Postdoctoral Fellow (2013) at the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.

Péter Morenth is the Executive Director, ATDO Africa, External Researcher, Africa Research Center, University of Pécs, and Honorary Consul to Hungary for the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The authors want to thank Sándor Balogh, President of the NGO ‘African–Hungarian Union’ and the association of HAND for financing the research for some of the strategic recommendations.