Berlin Africa Economic Forum 2015

Experts from Africa and Germany discuss the topic of „Germany, Africa and Migration – the Role of Business”

As main partner the Westerwelle Foundation participated at the Berlin Africa Economic Forum, on Dec 1, 2015, at the Hamburg Representative Office in Berlin, organized by the German-African Business Association. Experts and representatives from politics, business and civil society as well as African diplomats discussed the topic of „Germany, Africa and Migration – the Role of Business“. Challenges and opportunities facing the current refugee-debate and causes for migration were in the center of the discussions, with a focus on the opportunities of the private sector in Africa.

Alexander Vogel, Head of Office of the Westerwelle Foundation, and Christoph Kannengießer, General Manager of the German-African Business Association, officially welcomed the speakers and guests at the conference, together with Steffen Hebestreit, Director of the Hamburg Representative Office. Both, Vogel and Kannengießer, pointed out the great relevance and importance the African continent has and how it is still dramatically underestimated and presented one-sided unbalanced without any prospects. This is why it should be even more important to improve this situation and give prospects to all Africans. Vogel said: “In the long term, our prosperity here will only remain stable if the people in Africa finally can benefit from economic participation and live in peace.” Vogel stressed the potential of entrepreneurs in Africa. “We must enable and support more young talents in Africa to start businesses.” In his keynote Dr Stefan Liebing, Chairman of the German-African Business Association, underlined the potential and the importance of the private sector for the economic and democratic development in Africa. He encouraged German businesses to become more involved and invest in Africa, creating jobs and offering vocational training.

That a stronger commitment facing the current situation in Africa is very important, Dr Reiner Klingholz from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development made clear. In his presentation he demonstrated the migration streams and pointed out new perspectives on the current refugee debate in Europe. He made clear how much larger the migration streams are within the African continent compared to those streams coming to Germany. This showed how indispensable a stronger commitment is in Africa.

This was confirmed by the many diplomatic representatives from Africa, who gave valuable insights into their perspectives on migration. They also called for more commitment of German companies on the African market.

Christoph Kannengießer from the German-African Business Association wrapped up the conference by pointing out the most urgent challenges the African continent, also in its relation with Europe, must deal with. Namely, democracy, security, economic growth and job creation. Especially the private sector will have to take over a more important role to make living conditions better, creating stability and peace, in order to prevent the causes for migration movements.