Building Economic Partnerships: 1st German-Africa Business Summit in Berlin

The 1st German Africa Business Summit held from Monday 7th – 8th September 2015 brought together over 500 German businesses and Federal Government senior officials that wish to prospect and facilitate acquisition of business opportunities in Africa.

Delivering a key note address Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized the need to improve the cooperation with African Governments towards economic cooperation from the traditional development cooperation.

He said economic cooperation will create jobs, reduce illegal migration, poverty levels and increase the market share of German businesses operating in Sub Saharan Africa. The Minister noted and commended the reforms achieved by the EAC within a short period of time that included the Customs Union, Common Market and the path towards the Monetary Union.

Participating at the “Panel of Honour” EAC Secretary General stated that Africa had contributed to European Growth through importation of manufactured goods and it was now time for Europe to contribute to Africa’s Growth through Strong economic partnerships.

Dr. Steinmeier also met with the heads of delegations from the African Regional Economic Communities that included H.E. Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary General, H.E. Erastus Mwencha Deputy Chairperson of African Union, H.E. Kadre Quedraogo President of ECOWAS and Dr. Mbinkosi Mhlongo, Deputy Executive Secretary of Southern African Development Community

Amb. Sezibera expressed appreciation for the financial and technical assistance accorded to the EAC through the yearly contribution to the partnership fund, construction of the EAC headquarters in Arusha and visit by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Joachim Gauck to EAC headquarters earlier this year.

The Africa Regional Economic communities’ heads of delegations discussed how to combat illegal immigration, terrorism and how to improve governance with Dr. Steinmeier.

East Africa Community investor’s forum

The EAC Secretary General also attended an exceptional East Africa Community investor’s forum held at the closing of the Summit attended by 50 high net worth investors, hosted by the Regional Director for Sub Saharan Africa for the Federal Republic of German Government Mr. Georg Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt noted that the EAC is a shining example of a successful regional economic community in Africa and his conception of the expanded region would either include Somalia, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan or Madagascar.

Amb. Sezibera highlighted many attractive investment features but emphasized on two key areas which any serious investor would consider when scouting for the most attractive regional economic community, these include; a growing population of about 150m people and the highest level of economic integration achieved in Africa.

According to the investors EAC needs to sort out 4 key challenges to become the most attractive regional economic community in Africa among German investors; streamline border operations, regular engagement with German investors, improve ranking on the ease of doing-business report and fast truck full implementation of the Common Market Protocol.
Source: EAC Press Release, 10 September 2015