Germany-Africa forum boosts relationships

The Germany-Africa Business Forum brought African and European leaders in government and business together in Berlin to tackle issues like Africa’s need for capital and business opportunities on the continent.

Held March 23 at the Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, participants included H.E. Thomas Boni Yayi, former president of Benin; H.E. the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea Gabriel M. Obiang Lima and Onyeche Tifase, the CEO of Siemens Nigeria.

NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group, presented at the forum as well. Ayuk highlighted the many achievements of the Africans in the audience, including Linda Mabhena-Olagunju, Founder and MD of DLO Energy Resources Group and Rebecca Enonchong, Founder and CEO of AppsTech.

The one-day event urged German companies to invest in Africa. Currently, only 2 percent of German overseas business is conducted in Africa, despite the massive potential for investment in power, industrialization and manufacturing on the continent.

The forum came as Germany-Africa relationships are warming up, with Germany’s presidency of the G20 already making a clear focus on Africa and the German development minister calling for a “Marshall Plan for Africa” in order to boost the continent’s economic and social stability.

Despite the calls for action, German interactions with Africa are behind other international investors. For example, China trades $200 billion annually with Africa compared to Germany’s $60 billion in annual trade.

The forum sought to address this by igniting a discussion on Germany’s role in Africa’s rapid growth and development. The forum saw 170 attendees — including top executives from German and African companies, senior government officials and diplomatic representatives — tackling topics like the history of Germany-Africa trade, the potential of new African markets, the need for technology and innovation in Africa and the opportunities for renewables on the power-hungry continent.