2017 could be the year of the African continent. Many countries have launched programmes with which they hope to support Africa. For example, Africa is one of the focal points of the German G20 Presidency in 2017. At the beginning of the year, German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller presented a “Marshall Plan with Africa”, destined to stimulate cooperation with the continent in new ways. And now Brigitte Zypries has followed suit. The Federal Minister of Economic Affairs presented a new Africa concept at the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) in Durban, South Africa: In the case of “Pro! Africa” the plan is for a partnership in digitisation and innovation that brings German and African entrepreneurs together with a continental bridge for start-ups. To this end, a start-up financing fund is to be established with a total of 100 million Euros. Moreover, a new German Accelerator and the EXIST Start-up Germany programme is to be extended to include Africa.
Partnership among equals
“The targeting of the tried-and-trusted instruments of external economic promotion on Africa will give companies further incentives to invest there,” says the ministry’s press release. Moreover, sector-specific centres of excellence for tourism, the environment, raw materials and the water industry are to be set up. Vocational training and skills development for managers in Africa are likewise to be strengthened. “Both politically and economically, Africa is a continent of challenges, but particularly of opportunity. It offers great possibilities for German companies. Our Pro! Africa initiative aims to create an economic partnership of equals between Germany and Africa. We regard Africa as an equal partner,” Minister Zypries explained.