Beginning of September ITS took part in the first German African Business Summit, organised by the Subsahara-Africa Initiative, SAFRI, a joint initiative launched by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the German-African Business Association (AV).
In Berlin around 300 participants representing the German and African Industry and Governments discussed opportunities, challenges, and future trends within Sub Sahara Africa. Amongst these were distinguished guests such as His Excellency The President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, Germany’s Honourable Ministers of Foreign Affairs Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, and Jürgen Fitschen the co-CEO of Deutsche Bank AG to name just a few.
We were pleased to note that the growing business potential of African countries is becoming more recognised by German businesses and politics alike. In his keynote speech on the opening day the German Foreign Minister, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, mentioned that Foreign Direct Investment in 2015 for the first time had exceeded development assistance. This shows the growing importance of the private industry involvement in the socio-economic development in Sub Sahara Africa. The tenor has changed not only within politics but also within the rhetoric of the industry. Heinz-Walter Große, chairman of the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business remarked "It is time to focus more clearly on Africa as a highly promising economic partner and future market".
The Panel "Setting the Scene" focused on the framework conditions needed for both, the African as well as the German Side, for more cooperation possibilities in terms of business. The skills and with this the training and education of workforce was mentioned as an important key to success, which was highlighted by Annette Bauer, as representative of ITS in the conference.