The 2013/01/14 at 07:54
Marie Luginsland, in Germany
The DIHK is organising an original speed-dating event for Valentine’s Day. The federation of German CCIs has invited German businesses to meet, on 14 February this year, ambassadors and sales representatives from no less than 45 African countries, out of the 54 on the continent. “We have opted for face-to-face meetings between company heads and these country representatives, given that such meetings are more productive than long presentations on countries,” explains Heiko Schwiderowski, African expert at the DIHK. Almost 250 businesses, mainly SMEs, have already signed up for these interviews known as the “African Ambassadors Dialogue", to take place over a six-hour period on DIHK premises.
Made in Germany makes a comeback
Following an introduction by the GermanSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and by Essohanam Paka, Ambassador of Togo and President of African Ambassadors in Germany, company heads and diplomats, 15 % of whom are women, will hold individual meetings. “What is interesting about this event is the creation of networks between these different players,” continues Heiko Schwiderowski. Trade with these African countries, but also investment and potential collaborations will be on the agenda. According to Heiko Schwiderowski, businesses representing the sectors of infrastructures, energy and construction are the first to be affected by the economic soar experienced by the continent. “Facing very strong competition from Asian groups, they have withdrawn in recent years but they wish to make a comeback today. Indeed, they observe a surge in interest for German-made goods in African countries, rich in raw materials and wishing to invest in production equipment,” remarks Heiko Schwiderowski.
The German-African day of dialogue is being organised in collaboration with the Federation of German Industry, the Federation of Exporters, Afrika Verein and SAFRI (South African Initiative of German Business). The two latter associations are emblematic of the desire for exchange amongst German company heads, namely SMEs, with African managers. They also reflect their intention to secure their positioning on an increasingly sought-after continent. The setting up, in 2011, of an office by the German consultancy firm Roland Berger in Lagos, is also indicative of this interest. “The strongest dynamism in German activities is nevertheless seen in Angola while Namibia is also an access point for the south of this country,” notes Heiko Schwiderowski. Other countries targeted by German businesses are Rwanda, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, though the latter has no AHK (Auslandshandelskammer, overseas branch of German CCIs). In addition, the presence in this country of German businesses dealing in coltan mining remains controversial in the eyes of the United Nations and the international press.